DOING THE HYO ke OP K
THAT’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT
In today’s sedentary modern lifestyle, preschoolers, toddlers and even infants are spending far more time on electronic devices or watching television than ever before. This means less time being physically active at an age when physical activity is vital for the development of the sensory motor and perceptual skills that are essential for learning.
THE TRAP OF
Increasing screen time has been linked with delays in cognitive, language and motor development, as well as attention problems in young children. It is therefore very important to limit the amount of time your little one spends on screens and should not exceed an hour per day. To make it seem to your child that he’s watching more – and to keep his little brain from going on autopilot as he watches – break up viewing into 10-to15-minute increments. Rather, children’s time should be spent engaging in physical activities that boost their development both physically and psychologically.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY DOES A YOUNG CHILD NEED?
Paediatric physiotherapist and Clamber Club expert Nicole Hilburn says that recent guidelines indicate that infants and toddlers need 180 minutes of physical activity (of any intensity) per day, and children from the age of five years and up need at least an hour of vigorous physical activity every day. “Children of all ages also need to engage in activities, such as climbing playground equipment, which increase their physical strength, on a weekly basis,” says Nicole.
THE LONG-TERM BENEFITS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY?
“On the emotional and psychological side, active children tend to have lower anxiety levels and improved mood and self-esteem compared to inactive children,” says Liz Senior, an occupational therapist and founder of Clamber Club. “Children who are more physically active are also likely to perform better in the classroom due to the impact exercise has on attention, concentration span and physical strength,” she adds.
Specifically, the health benefits of physical activity include the development of healthy musculoskeletal tissues, cardiovascular system and neuromuscular awareness, not to mention maintenance of a healthy body weight and lower anxiety levels in children.
WE KEEP YOUNG CHILDREN ACTIVE?
The good news is that there are a variety of ways to keep young children engaged in physical activity. Implementing just a few changes in your child’s day can help increase their activity levels – and it can also be a lot of fun!