Forming healthy habits start during a child’s early years and last a lifetime. A study conducted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found young children who are overweight during their early years are more likely to be obese later in life. Raising healthy children is about eating nutritious foods and watching portion size, and also about encouraging physical activity.
Exercise is fun, especially when the whole family is involved. Try these tips:
Children Up to 1 Year Old
It is important for babies to play and be active. Physical activity helps babies develop their muscles and encourages them to explore the world around them.
- Place your baby on his or her stomach for “tummy time” to help build neck and core muscles and prepare for crawling
- Practice crawling with your baby outside on a blanket
- Stretch your arms and wiggle your toes together
Children 1 to 2 Years Old
When toddlers are active, they learn about their bodies, fine-tune their basic motor skills and sleep better at night. Physicians recommend toddlers participate in an hour and a half of daily activity for healthy development.
- Play follow-the-leader, making sure to hop, jump and crawl along the way
- Toss a ball with your toddler and practice coordination skills
- Playfully chase your child in the house or on the playground and hug your toddler when you catch him or her
Children 3 to 5 Years Old
At least two hours of physical activity a day helps young children build their muscles as well as their imaginations. By exercising together, both you and your child stay physically fit and spend quality time as a family.
- Dance to music
- Play your favorite childhood games, such as hopscotch, leap frog and hide-and-seek
- Go on a walk or hike to explore the outdoors
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