Most moms of toddlers will attest to the fact that getting their toddlers to move about requires little, if any, encouragement. Exercise comes naturally to these little explorers who thrive on walking, running, climbing, twirling, and jumping their way around a new and exciting world. Physical exercise has a practical side, along with being enjoyable and entertaining. It promotes good health and makes your little one stronger. Keeping up with your toddler’s spontaneous exercise regime is a challenge that is sure to help you burn plenty of calories.
Toddlers are exercise enthusiasts by nature, which makes it easy for them to get the recommended 60 minutes or more of free play or unstructured physical activity every day. It’s fine to break play time up into two, 30 minute or four, 15 minute sessions, according to the American Heart Association. The main point is to keep those little bodies in free motion for one out of 24 hours.
Toddlers also need adult-led or structured physical activity that should total about 30 minutes a day. This is your time to shine and get moving with your tot on a makeshift dance floor or take a walk on a nature path. Your toddler will get a thrill out of holding your hand while he proudly performs his jumping skills. Watch over or join your child as he climbs stairs or works his way up the playground slide ladder. Enjoy the delightful sense of freedom as you slide down together.
Older toddlers get a kick out of simple games like “Ring Around the Rosy.” Falling down with Mommy is sure to give your tot a case of the giggles, making the game all the more fun. A mommy-and-me group can be as much for you as it is for your toddler. A formal program isn’t necessary, but you may enjoy the social interaction with other moms and hold your head a little higher when you see that your child tossed the ball a little farther than the other tots.
Enrolling your toddler in a playgroup can expand her exercise horizons as she learns how to interact with other kids. Activities may include traditional games like “Duck, Duck, Goose” or free play like tossing or kicking a ball, jumping about or running around the room. Toddlers may be more inclined to play alongside other kids rather than with them, but playgroups help set the stage for more cooperative play in the future.
An estimated 17 percent of children and teens aged 2 to19 years are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But parents shouldn’t be preoccupied with the weight of a toddler younger than 2. Inviting your child to join you in a dance or play a game of tag that will leave you both breathless can help offset concerns that your child may be too sedentary. As always, talk to your doctor if you have serious concerns about your child’s weight.Keep a watchful eye on your toddler during exercise. Gross motor skills are rapidly improving, but toddlers are a work in progress when it comes to coordination, balance and good judgment.