Obesity is spreading like an epidemic in the developed world. Children, mostly from affluent section of society, tend to become overweight due to two reasons. The first being good and healthy food and the second being lack of activity or exercise. It is necessary that the child should be on a balanced diet and should remain active from the earliest possible age. Human beings are habit driven. If the habit of remaining active is made a part of life from the very beginning, it will continue as such throughout life and will be part of daily routine just like brushing of teeth etc.
As per the experts the child should get exercise both on his own count and also with the help of the adults. The extent of exercise necessary depends upon the age of the child. A child between 1 to 3 years of age should get 30 minutes of daily exercise playing with adults and another 60 minutes of exercise when on his own.
When the child is at home generally moms, to keep them free or do their work, let the child watch TV. Many children’s channels are available on TV. This is not a good habit. A child under 2 years of age should never watch TV. Instead he should crawl or walk around, if there is nothing special to do let the child follow you wherever you go. Children of more than two years of age may be allowed limited access to the TV set but with limitations as to what the child can watch and time for which TV is allowed to him.
Making your toddler physically active is not so difficult, this habit can inculcated by following some fun ways. These could be –
- The toddler should be encouraged to indulge in the activities which make the toddler move. This will make him learn to balance himself and coordinate movements. The child should be encouraged to pick up the toys which he has thrown on the floor, he should try kicking a ball in forward and backward movement and should be encouraged to throw ball when playing outside the room
- Children generally love music and like to dance on it. You can start music and dance with the toddler. Both of you will get the necessary workout.
- Generally during rainy season or cold weather it is difficult to move out and indulge in outdoor activities. This should not mean that the child becomes passive and sticks to watching TV. You can place a children’s gym indoor and let the child climb it and play on it while you are watching.
- Play such games with the child that make him run around or move around quite a lot. This will help the toddler strengthen muscles.
- A toddler of the crawling age should be encouraged to crawl over or under an obstacle. You can lie down and let the toddler crawl over you. This way the toddler will get both physical and mental exercise.
If there are other toddlers living in the vicinity it will be better if they all come out to mix up amongst themselves. This way they will get exposure to the outside atmosphere and will also become friendly. They can play games together and share toys. While playing they will learn how to be social. To begin with the toddlers may not be interested to mix up or share their games but very soon you will notice that with the slightest encouragement they will be friendly and will indulge in lot of playing around.
When outside it will be necessary to keep an eye on the child to ensure that he is safe and does not go too far off or on the road where there is traffic.