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Reasons to Promote Fidgeting

by Lori Sciame | May 29th, 2012 | Preschool
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Health officials proclaim, “preschoolers need to get moving.” These professionals forecast that if young children do not once again embrace physical movement, they will be burdened with grave health concerns when they grow up. For thousands of years, nature assisted parents by hard wiring this age group to be physically active, but our current society actually overrides nature in this important aspect of development.

Have you read this startling statistic? Physical inactivity has contributed to the 100% increase in the prevalence of childhood obesity in the United States since 1980 (CDC, 2000). Don’t you think that this is amazingly sad for the young people who live in our country?

So what has happened to disrupt the natural balance between calories consumed and calories burned? In short, modern society. Never before have so many fast food restaurants graced our neighborhoods, and never before have portion sizes been so large. Not only that, but preschoolers seem to prefer video games over real life exploration.

Folks, this is a battle. As a parent, you must take charge and encourage your children to participate in some sort of vigorous physical activity each day. Whether they like to ice skate, or they enjoy the thrill of kicking a soccer ball, or they live for dancing, encourage them to move for 30 minutes. And don’t stop there; work family fitness into your normal routine as well. Even taking walks together in the park will teach your preschooler that exercise can be fun.

I’m going to be honest. When I was young, I remember that my friends’ parents were not overweight. Sadly, as I look at many young parents today, a large number seem perfectly happy carrying around an extra 50 or even 100 pounds. This sends the wrong message to a preschooler. Instead of eating to live, they learn to live to eat.

Still not convinced that you should promote healthy weight in a preschooler? This should do it — studies show that children who are obese usually end up as obese adults. There seems to be a direct relationship between how much a child weighs, and how much he or she will weigh even after flying the nest.

Now that you understand just how important “fidgeting” or exercise really is, you may want to try one of the following fun ways to help your son or daughter burn calories:

1. Beat the Clock

My youngest daughter loved this game. When I felt she hadn’t exercised at all on a given day, I would challenge her to “beat the clock.” This simple game involves timing your child while he or she runs a predetermined distance. Then you challenge him or her to beat the time on the second, then the third, and then the fourth try.

2. Lucky Laps

Another game we played — lucky laps. This is another simple game where you take your child to a local track. You can simply walk the track with your child, and when you think he or she has had enough exercise, proclaim that “this is the lucky lap!” Stop exercising and enjoy low-calorie treats and water.

 

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