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Toddler Care – How to Get Your Toddler Exercising

by Jessica B. | August 24th, 2015 | Care, Infants/Toddlers

mom and toddler (400x400)These days, everyone is busy talking about the dangers of childhood obesity, mostly because the long-term effects can be devastating. It can be difficult for a parent to relax when faced with the constant stream of information about keeping your kids healthy while also being bombarded with tons of tasty treats that tempt even the youngest eaters. Here are a few things to consider when focusing on your child’s diet and exercise.

1) Don’t think of it as exercise – A healthy toddler does not have to worry about exercise. Why? Because they never stop moving. This should be enough. Sure, you can sign up your kids for sports classes or other events, but the key to keeping your kid healthy is to make sure they have space to get around. This also means allowing them to run around and be noisy. You want your toddler to get some exercise? Let them be a toddler! This means making sure they have a safe space where they won’t hurt themselves or annoy others. Sometimes this is a sports class, sometimes this is your backyard.

2) Limit screen time – I cringe every time I see a kids show that is busy encouraging my kids to get off the sofa and move like the character. It seems terribly unnatural for my kids to interact with this piece of furniture that is my television. If they want to relax and watch a show now and then, fine. BUT the biggest intrusion into childhood playing is too much screen time. Pop on the TV or tablet when you are making dinner or getting ready to start your day, just make sure you spend enough time with that TV off and your kid running around to get them burning those calories.

3) Run around with them – They will do what you do. You may not have the energy every day, but turn up the music and have a dance party. We throw all the sofa pillows on the floor and run obstacle courses around them at least once a day. Go on long walks and encourage your toddler to get out of the stroller and explore when the conditions are right. Teach your child that ‘exercise’ is just a natural part of their existence and you are setting them up for success.

4) Play – Obesity has never in history been a problem before because children naturally get rid of so much energy through play. If you encourage your kids to spend a majority of their day playing and not sitting, they will burn more than enough calories. This summer my kids have both eaten a huge ice cream treat almost every day, but they need it; they have spent pretty much every day outside running around for 5-6 hours at a time. And the best part for me as a parent? They have never slept this well before!

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