Exercises for Young Children
Car seats, strollers, and high chairs are great for keeping your little one safe and secure while you are traveling or getting things done at home.
But, if kids spend too much time being sedentary, it can interfere with their motor development. Also, they can get too comfortable being sedentary and less likely to play and be active. This inactivity adds to the rising rate of childhood obesity.
You do not need to engage your young child in any serious physical activity, just encourage him to do more of what kids are naturally inclined to do—explore and play. Exercise is important to help your child learn to use muscles and develop coordination. Just keep in mind that if an activity is too difficult, kids become frustrated and lose motivation to try again.
Engage your infant in some activity every day. This includes setting up safe areas for the infant to play in, playing games with him, and carrying him to different environments to explore. Do not keep infants in baby seats or other restrictive settings for long periods of time. Instead, place them in settings that encourage play for short periods of time several times a day.
To encourage your infant to be active, try the following:
- Lay your infant on a blanket on the floor with a few toys.
- Provide brightly colored, easy-to-grasp toys that can be squeezed or have different textures to encourage reaching and grasping.
- Place the infant on his tummy facing you, encourage him to lift his head and kick his legs.
- When the baby is learning to roll over, hold a favorite toy just out of reach to motivate him to keep trying.
- Play peek-a-boo or patty-cake; help move your child's hands so he learns the motions.
- Carry the child to a new environment, set him down, and let him explore. Be sure the area is baby-proofed.
- Avoid allowing your baby to watch TV.
Last reviewedMay 2012by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.