Toddlers and young children have an abundance of energy. Many parents provide avenues for their children to expend their energy, like taking them to the park or enrolling them in a sport.
As children get a little bit older, they may turn to technology, games, or reading for entertainment instead of physical activity. But just because children have other interests doesn’t mean their need for physical activity goes down.
Physical activity is vital at every stage of childhood development. Here are just a few reasons why.
Physical Activity and Health
Everyone knows that physical activity is directly related to health. However, children need more physical activity than adults. Children are always growing and constantly learning about their body’s capabilities and limitations and integrating motor and neurological reflexes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, physical activity can reduce the risk of:
- Heart disease.
- Type 2 diabetes.
- High blood pressure.
Physical exercise also improves bone density and muscular strength.
How Much Exercise is Enough?
How much physical activity your child needs depends on their age. Babies need about 30 minutes of tummy time per day. Children aged one to five years need about three hours of vigorous activity, and children older than five years need about 60 minutes.
Physical Activity and Coordination
Children are always learning new physical skills, integrating motor and neurological reflexes, and challenging their bodies. Physical activity is necessary to improve coordination, balance, reflexes, and motor skills.
Physical Activity and Cognition
Children who engage in regular physical activity have superior cognitive abilities and academic performance compared with peers who aren’t physically active. This is because physical activity brings more blood and oxygen to the brain and aids in memory, problem-solving, and attention.
Physical Activity and Emotions
Physical activity provides endorphins and reduces stress. When children have a regular, constructive outlet to release extra energy, they are more even-tempered, have fewer tantrums, and have a calmer disposition.
Children prone to anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, or poor body image, can also benefit from physical activity.
Physical Activity and Relationships
Playing team games builds relationships and camaraderie. It helps children learn how to lose–and win–graciously. Playing with a parent or guardian is a very bonding experience.
How Can I Start?
Hopefully, you are ready to include physical activity as a part of your daily routine. Here are some tips to get started:
- Aim for your child’s age-appropriate amount of physical activity, but start small. Try just a few minutes a day of physical activity.
- Choose something your child enjoys. Enroll them in a sport or take them to their favorite park.
- Participate with them! Adults need regular exercise, too. Children are more likely to play for longer if you play with them–plus, you get the added bonus of connection and bonding with your child
- Outside play is best, but if the weather doesn’t allow for outside play, utilize technology. YouTube has many channels with fitness programs designed for kids and performed by kids.
- Make it fun by creating an obstacle course, playing “The Floor is Lava,” or re-enacting their favorite movie or video game
Physical Activity at Children’s Academy Childcare and Preschool
At Children’s Academy, we place a high value on physical activity. Our children have access to an outdoor playground, and children get many opportunities to play outside. When inside, children have the freedom to roam, run, and play in ways that improve coordination, balance, and reflexes.
It can be hard to include your child’s physical activity during a busy day. Thankfully, you can rest assured that your child receives age-appropriate and fun physical activities at DAYCARE.
If you’re looking to give your child a head start in school, contact Children’s Academy Childcare and Preschool today!