Early years are surely the most important in a child’s life. It’s a time when parents can lay a strong foundation related to health and well being. Not only nutritious food but regular physical activity helps to support the normal growth and development of kids to grow right. It also helps to reduce the risk of developing lifestyle-related diseases later in life.
Like most kids these days spend time in front of the TV and playing on gadgets, a little involvement of parents can play an important part. Sometimes they need to think out of the box to help kids make healthy choices around nutrition and physical activity. I like how this mom uses innovative ideas to involve her daughter in fun physical activities.
As a mom, I also feel that playtime and mealtime play a huge role in the right growth and development of a child. I also use innovative ways to make my daughters understand the value of both. It’s not easy to keep them away from gadgets or eat healthy all the time but it’s not impossible.
Of course, healthy eating plays an important role but you cannot deny the role of physical activity and other activities that help in cognitive development.
Do you know only one in three children is physically active these days?
It is important to encourage physical activity in early childhood as it not only forms a good foundation but also it can impact immediate and long-term health outcomes.
These are few ways in which I make playtime and mealtime fun for my kids and hope it helps other mothers too –
- Encourage active play – Active play is the best form of physical activity. It involves unstructured or free play and structured or planned play. You can take them outdoors if weather permits otherwise plan some activities at home to keep them active.
- Find age-appropriate activities – For 2-5-year-old, you can plan many different activities indoor and outdoor. Running, swimming, skipping, riding a bicycle are all good activities for them.
- Be innovative – If a child is not interested in playing outdoors, you can plan some unstructured or fun activities at home. Dancing on the music, playing hide and seek, games involving thinking skills like question and answer sessions, etc.
- Do not force – These days kids are involved in school work and projects so much that they hardly get time for physical activities. Plan a time when they can go out to play for some time but do not overdo it. Let them choose an activity of their interest. As in this way, there are more chances of them following it later too.
- Make mealtime fun – Sometimes you have to experiment in the kitchen to make kids eat healthy food. Mix grated vegetables in different recipes include fruits with their favourite dishes, make sandwiches and parathas in their favourite shapes. Little innovation can help to tackle fussy eaters easily.
The benefits of active play go beyond just physical development. It helps in the development of social, language and intellectual skills too. Also, it helps to improve their eating habits as playtime and mealtime are correlated. Speaking from my own experience, a child who is physically active is also a good eater. Try it to see for yourself!