Tips for getting your toddler active

As a parent, you’ll no doubt understand the importance of getting your toddlers active and instilling lifelong habits that will keep them healthy into adulthood and beyond. It is estimated that more than two-thirds of Americans are currently overweight and underactive, placing them at a serious risk of health complications, including heart disease, high blood pressure and strokes. Since so many bad health habits are accrued during childhood, there has never been a better time to teach your toddler the value of an active lifestyle ad introduce healthier habits to your family. Besides, what’s a child to do with all that excess energy if they’re not being given a creative outlet every now and again?

Counteract boredom, tantrums and naughtiness with a series of well-planned activities and games, and you could notice more of a difference than you ever thought possible.

Start them young

Babies’ interest in the world around them should start from birth. Encouraging your child to remain active will become a lifelong endeavor, and it’s essential that these habits be instilled from the very first moments of parenthood. Sensory toys that encourage a baby to gaze and grab as well as those that stimulate movement and play are the best ways to begin your child’s developmental journey. Toys and accessories that teach a baby how to use his or her limbs, senses and cognitive skills include walkers, play mats, brightly colored and noisy toys and activity tables and centers. Online retailers such as skiphop.com carry a wealth of such products, enabling you to choose the toys, baby gym products and accessories that will best stimulate and motivate your baby to engage with the world as he or she enters toddlerhood.

Make it fun

The activities that you undertake with your child should be enjoyable, with a real emphasis on play, creativity and fun for both you and your toddler. Whether you’re encouraging your baby to let go of the furniture and walk, attempting to hone your toddler’s fine motor skills or teaching your child to ride a bike, there are incredible opportunities for fun at every stage of the developmental journey. Incorporate climbing, balancing, pushing, pulling, rolling, running, jumping, throwing and catching into your toddler’s daily routine, and you’ll soon discover a child who’s happy, healthy and curious about everything that life has to offer. What’s more, imaginative games such as scavenger hunts and crafts can build a strong, loving bond between parents and their children. Trust, confidence, independence and love are all taught via the games that parents play with their toddlers while they’re young.

Involve the family

While there’s nothing quite like the achievement of engaging a toddler in all manner of activities, involving your family in the same pursuits will provide you with an even greater sense of pride. Being active isn’t something that’s reserved for youngsters with too much energy to burn off; it’s also good for their siblings, parents, relatives and friends. Indeed, everyone could learn a thing or two from spirited, curious toddlers when it comes to exploring the world. You’ll find that your toddler is far more inclined to join in an activity if the whole family is participating, and he or she may even choose to lead certain playtime games when the mood strikes. Your family will be able to enjoy unrivaled quality time together, and you cannot put a price on the memories that you’ll be able to make.

Head outside

Heading outdoors can be a great way to encourage activity in a toddler. There’s nothing quite like the fresh air to inspire a sense of adventure, after all. Whether you play in the park, ride bikes together or simply head into the backyard to ensure that your child is being kept away from the sofa, aim to enjoy the great outdoors at least two or three times a week. There are so many games that your family could play together outside, including puddle jumping on wet afternoons, collecting leaves, feathers and pebbles on a spring morning or cloud spotting on a summer’s day. Whatever you do, make it fun. Your family may even wish to venture further afield to a national park as you get used to your newly found freedom. Dress appropriately, head out into the unknown and prepare for an adventure.

Above all, remember that there’s no need to make any huge changes to your family time or lifestyle immediately – or at all. Encouraging your toddler and other family members to become more active could be as easy as playing in the backyard for an hour a day or holding a dance party in your basement a couple of evenings a week. There’s certainly no need to organize family hiking weekends or audacious trips to the park each week, unless you catch the bug to do so, that is. These new, healthier habits should be instilled from birth so that your child grows to appreciate the freedom of movement, a burgeoning sense of adventure and improved well being. You never know; you may just alter your entire family’s health for the better also.

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