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Published on December 6th, 2013 | by Joe Starks

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Toddler Fitness: Do and Don’ts

In the last decades we’ve seen a frightening rise in obese and overweight toddlers that grow up to be extremely obese and unhealthy teenagers. When you see a 200 pound teenager you know that this problem didn’t just appear with puberty. Heavy children learn their behavior in those tender first years, when they follow their parent’s lead more. This is why it is extremely important to know what to teach a toddler and what kind of lifestyle you should have with him or her. In this article we’ll discuss what is proper, what is necessary and what should never be attempted when it comes to toddler fitness.

What should a toddler be able to do?

Not all children develop at the same speed. This goes for healthy children too, since absolutely healthy individuals can still learn to talk or walk at different ages. So, you should not be too anxious if your child learned to walk two months later than your neighbor’s kid. There is an age though when your toddler should be able to do certain things, or else she or he might be experiencing developmental problems. This does not mean that your child will be handicapped; it simply means that some children do need special attention very early to blossom.

A child should be able to walk and run by the age of 2. They may still fall over once in a while or be careful while climbing stairs. Usually at that age a child can throw a ball, but that isn’t always the case. By the age of three your kid should be walking and running with ease and be able to catch and throw balls. By the age of four toddler should have more graceful and controlled movement overall and be able to perform children’s activities.

If your child complains of pain or does not want to play under any circumstances, then you should visit the doctor.

How to properly train your toddler

First of all, physical activity for such a young child should always come in the form of family bonding and games. Your toddler is still too young to “train” and “make an effort” like we adults see our fitness sometimes. Games like running around the living room, chasing mom or dancing to fun music together are perfectly fine for such a young child. Make sure that your toddler doesn’t stay still for more than one hour at a time, excluding his or her sleeping time of course.

Training should be positive parental attention and pure fun for a toddler. If your child grows up like that he or she will be active in later life as well.

You should worry about your toddler’s fitness if the child sits before the TV for more than 30 minutes in a row per day, if he or she plays too many video games and don’t like to do anything active. Being inactive will cause toddlers to be bored and overeat most of the times. There is also a crucial time until the age of 5 where a child has to learn certain motor skills or else he or she are in danger of being clumsier than average people.

What to avoid when training your toddler

Toddlers are too young for sports. Don’t have your toddler do the ballet, soccer and such highly structured and demanding exercises until the age of four or above. Toddlers do not need that pressure in their young age. They need a lot of time with people who love them and a lot of fun activities, that’s all.

NEVER have your toddler lift weights! This is an absolute no. Very light objects, which your child voluntarily carries around, do not count, but having your toddlers carry or lift weights as training is a bad idea. The back of a toddler is still very sensitive and lifting weight can impair growth as well as studies show.

In the end, your toddlers should be like we all imagine toddlers: They have to be extremely active and tiring for the parent, curious about everything and a bit risky in their behavior. If your child is all that you might be a bit tired, but at least you know your toddlers is pretty normal and fit! Toddler fitness is a great thing to do to bond with your child. The bond you forge at that age will be crucial to your later relationship with your child.

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