Over the course of this 3-part article, we will investigate health benefits and a growing mind in connection with Diet, Exercise and Sleep.
For even the smallest of learners, exercise is very important and will support your child’s growing body and their developing brain. However, for babies and infants exercise will look very different from the exercise of an adult. The exercise of a young person is play! Play in any shape or form that makes you move.
Purposeful and meaningful movement should be accessible to all children. This play must be encouraged and supported by adults around the children. A baby will naturally reach and grasp for new, exciting objects and toys but as the baby becomes more able, the supporting adult/ parent begins to move toys a little out of reach or into further away places, adding challenge and excitement into the play.
Looking at your child’s movements whether crawling, bottom shuffling, toddling, walking or even running will assist you in determining how you can help your child. Getting them moving around or travelling to different places will naturally challenge their developing muscular system and strengthen their developing bodies. Knees need to bend, hips need to flex, and shoulders need to rotate. A child that can run already should be encouraged to hop, skip and jump onto and off from small steps or blocks.
Assisting your baby when they are learning to crawl or to walk is incredibly important, carefully ensure the surrounding play area is safe and free from objects that may be harmful (slips, trips, choking hazards etc.). When your child is able to walk, it’s time to risk assess your home. Finger guards, small gates, socket covers and corner covers will help you to prevent accidents in the home. Remember a young child or baby should never be left alone to play, if Mummy or Daddy need to use the washroom and you are alone place baby safely in his/her crib and ensure blankets/covers/ pillows toys are out of the crib.
Yessss!!!!You did it!!! Using positive and encouraging language, really promoting and describing the achievements that your child has made will encourage their interest to stay active. Mummies and Daddies are the best motivators and role models. Magical words such as “you climbed to the third step by yourself!”, “you jumped up and down!”, “wow baby, you are moving your legs”, should be used at every opportunity.
Keep in mind that each and every child will develop physically at different speeds and there is no right or wrong time to crawl or walk. If ever in doubt ask your JINS Nursery Teacher for advice, activity strategies and tips, we are here to help you at every stage of your child’s development.
A shuffle is the beginnings of a crawl
A step, beginning of walking
Running is a new adventure
And exercise is a lifelong pleasure……
Help your child understand and enjoy exercise, get out there and PLAY!
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