Children should get at least one hour of exercise or physical activity each day. Not only is it good for their overall health, it also helps to burn off excess energy resulting in better concentration and behavior.
Here are some tips to keeping your child active during the colder months like we do at the Y:
• Bundle up, get outside! Just because it is cold doesn’t mean you have to stay in. Pull on the hat, boots, gloves, scarf and snowsuit and get out there and play like you would in the summer months! Build a snowman if there’s enough snow. Go sledding – you will get plenty of exercise climbing up the hill before you glide back down on your sled. There are plenty of other outdoor activities as well – ice skating, snow angels, snowball fights, snowshoeing, even shoveling! Get out there and breathe in some of that cool fresh air!
• Stay active while inside! Put on some music and dance around. Test your balance with some simple yoga-like poses. Young children love to pretend. Without realizing it, they can get a lot of exercise pretending to be different animals and hopping like a kangaroo or slithering like a snake. As long as they’re moving, they’re getting exercise!
• Do you live near a YMCA or community center? Can you contact your local parks and recreation department? Many of these locations offer indoor activities or classes that you can take to stay active if you don’t like the cold weather. A variety of classes – from hula hooping to martial arts can keep you and your child moving. The possibilities are endless ( http://www.regionalymca.org/schedules.html)
• If you do find yourself in front of the television or video games, play an interactive video or game that requires movement. Experts recommend that screen time for children be strictly limited. At the Y, we subscribe to the “5-2-1-0 plan” – five or more fruits and vegetables per day, cut screen time to two hours per day, complete one hour of physical activity and have zero sugar-sweetened drinks or soda.
This month’s guest-blogger is Jennifer Pane. Pane is the branch director at the YMCA’s Children’s Center in Bethel, part of the Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut. The Regional YMCA is a community service organization committed to building healthy lives through programs that strengthen the spirit, mind and body for all. To learn more about the Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut, visit http://www.regionalymca.org/
The Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut is a member organization of the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance. The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance is a statewide advocacy organization working to ensure that all children are healthy, safe and ready for lifelong success. Visit us at earlychildhoodalliance.com, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ctearlychildhoodalliance or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cteca. The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance is supported by the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, the Fairfield County Community Foundation and our member organizations, such as the Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut.