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Posts Tagged ‘Fitness and children’

Sufficient Hydration is Necessary for a Healthy Lifestyle

20120920_goddard_TN_0207Most of us are concerned that our children have good eating habits to ensure proper growth; however, not many of us put as much thought into the amount of water our little ones consume. What is the proper amount of water for children?

Water is not a one size fits all commodity. The amount of water children need depends on their age, weight and gender. Although there is not an exact number, we all could use a little more H2O to keep us on the go.

Here are some tips to increase your child’s water consumption.

  • The most efficient and effective way to boost your child’s water intake is to always have it available. Whether she is at home, at school or playing outdoors, make sure your child is always within reach of water.
  • Encourage your child to drink water by simply placing it in front of her without any alternative options. If she does not have soda or other sugary beverages around her, she will be more likely to drink the water without a fuss.
  • Increase your child’s consumption of fruits and vegetables that contain large volumes of water, such as strawberries, oranges, watermelon and cucumbers.
  • Be a good example; increase your water intake as well. This will not only keep you on track with how much water you consume, but watching you drink water will ensure that your child will want to drink it too.

Staying hydrated helps children focus better in school, brightens their mood and improves their performance in day to day activities.

Grab a glass of water for you and your little one, and start increasing your intake today.

Bike Readiness & Helmet Safety

During the summer months, it is important to verify bike readiness by running through this checklist to ensure your children’s safety.twenty20_fc896173-a5ae-4b99-8237-0ab82975d14a

  • Make sure their helmet still fits properly. If the helmet is too small or has previously been involved in a crash or has been damaged, replace it.
  • Clean off all the dust on the bike and check for loose parts, this includes the seat and handlebars.
  • Check and inflate the tires. Also, check for tire wear and dry rot.
  • Adjust the seat. Your children have grown since the last time they rode their bikes. When seated on the bike, your child should be able to stand on the balls of both feet.
  • Check the handlebars. They should be easy to grasp without leaning forward.
  • Make sure the brakes are working properly and there is no wear.
  • Buy the appropriate sized bike. Never buy a bike that your child will “grow into.”

Bike Helmet Safety

Many children do not like wearing helmets because they fear they are “uncool.” Because of this, it is important to have your children start wearing a helmet with their first tricycles or play vehicles to get them in the habit. Let your children know you expect them to wear a helmet every time they ride. Be a role model and wear a helmet when you ride your bike; your children are more likely to wear a helmet if they see you demonstrating good safety.

Allowing your children to choose their own helmet will increase the probability that they will want to wear it. Make sure when purchasing a new helmet that it is the correct size. Never buy a helmet that your child will “grow into.”

  • The helmet should sit level on your child’s head. It should be low on the forehead, about one or two finger widths above their eyebrows.
  • Adjust the straps so they meet in a “V” right under each ear.
  • Adjust the chinstrap snugly under the chin so that no more than one or two fingers fit under the strap. Keep the helmet tight enough so the helmet pulls down when you child opens his or her mouth.
  • Always make sure helmet straps are buckled when your child is riding.

Stay Active

As parents, our main goal is to keep our children happy and healthy. One challenge, especially with enticing gadgets, is getting our children to keep active and understand the importance of exercise. Creating good habits early helps
9children maintain and form positive habits later. We want to teach our children to turn off the TV, put down the electronic devices and go outside to use their energy and imagination.

Here are some ideas of what you and your child can do together to stay active:

  • Go for a walk in the park or in your neighborhood and have a scavenger hunt (look for a pine cone, a red bird, etc.);
  • Use sidewalk chalk to create a hopscotch court and teach your child to play the game;
  • Find a new park or playground to explore;
  • Walk your dog or play fetch with your dog as a family;
  • Plant flowers together in a garden;
  • Visit a local zoo or museum;
  • Go outside and play with a bouncy ball;
  • Teach your child to ride a tricycle;
  • Have a family room dance party;
  • Set up a small inflatable pool in your backyard;
  • Play Simon Says, and make sure Simon includes plenty of jumping and other active movements.

Five Tips for Healthy Activities

Goddard Schools Celebrate the Importance of Play, Fitness & Nutrition

The Goddard School believes in the power of play for learning, as well as the importance of providing a healthy, active lifestyle for all children. In an effort to spread the word to families in their community, the educational preschools will sponsor The Goddard School Block Party event from Monday, September 19 through Saturday, September 24, 2011. The event will engage children and their families in a variety of exciting fitness, nutrition and playful learning activities based on the core curriculum and enrichment programs that are an integral part of the FLEXLearning Program offered at The Goddard School.

In addition to The Goddard School Block Party event taking place in our Schools, Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), franchisor of The Goddard School, is the exclusive preschool sponsor of Play for Tomorrow’s Ultimate Block Party: The Arts and Sciences of Play, a powerful global movement designed to recognize and celebrate the power of play for learning. The Ultimate Block Party will take place Sunday, October 2nd, at Rash Field in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore, MD and will feature an amazing day of play for families and children, designed to bring playful learning back to the forefront. At the event, GSI and the Baltimore-area Goddard Schools will host the Let’s Play Café. Children will enjoy manipulating play dough, shopping at a pretend farmer’s market and participating in a series of engaging pretend restaurant activities while learning about nutrition, counting, sorting and other important lessons through play.

To gear up for the big celebrations, Sue Adair, director of education at GSI, offers five tips for parents to help their children partake in healthy activities:

  • Make it into a game. Create a game out of everyday tasks such as chores, cleaning and gardening. Think outside the box to create activities that are active and stimulate the mind. Play helps children learn to solve problems, promotes flexibility and motivation, teaches regulation of emotions and builds resilience and confidence.
  • Get outside. Preschoolers need plenty of time and space to run around and play.  Taking your child to a playground or park is a great way to release energy and exercise! Play outside with your child and teach hand-eye coordination by showing the basics of throwing, catching and kicking a large, soft ball.
  • Add music to the activity. Play “Statues” by playing up-tempo music.  Have your child move while the music is playing and freeze into a statue when you pause the music.  Encourage creative dancing.
  • Be active with your children. Support young toddlers’ mastery of walking by allowing them to be active!  Play with them as they learn to run, hop, dance and throw.  Have them chase bubbles or invent a silly walk — play becomes exercise.  Remember to provide encouragement to your child as they build self-confidence.
  • Get active inside, too. When weather interferes, get out the large balls, exercise mats and Twister® games, or do some stretching and balancing exercises together. Limit TV, video game and computer time to encourage your children to become active.

Focusing your child’s physical fitness on fun activities will increase your child’s ability to move with confidence and competence,” Adair said.  “At The Goddard School, we also work closely with our families to help guide healthy activities, because exercise increases overall metabolism; builds a healthy heart and lungs, strong bones and muscles; and improves coordination, balance, posture and flexibility.

To learn more about The Goddard School Block Party and The Goddard, parents are encouraged to visit www.goddardschool.com/blockparty or call 1-800-GODDARD.

Get Out and Play!

Don’t let the chill in the air keep your children indoors and inactive this winter. Bundle up appropriately and get out and play!

  • Check local Web sites and activity guides for places you can hike, ski, sled, ice skate or snowshoe.
  • Romp in the snow and enjoy an exciting snowball fight.
  • If it’s too cold to be outdoors, consider indoor activities such as swimming, karate and dance.
  • Limit TV, video game and computer time to encourage your children to get active.
  • Set a good example. If you’re telling your children to get out and play, make sure you do, too!

Keeping your Child Healthy

Nutrition and exercise are important to your child’s overall health.  Proper nutrition and participation in physical activities can prevent many medical problems and ensure your child is growing to his/her full potential.

Encourage your child to eat a variety of foods to help them get the nutrients they need from every food group.  By offering your child a variety of foods, they are more likely to try new foods – and to like more foods.  Children learn from their parents, so it is no surprise that they are likely to mimic your food choices and physical activities.  If they see you enjoying fruits, vegetables, whole grains as well as physical activities, your children are more likely enjoy them as well.  Be a good role model for developing good health, physical skills and self-esteem by eating healthy and getting plenty of exercise.

Young Kids, Summer’s End and Exercise

Most parents count on summer itself to promote physical activity and raise-your-pulse exercise. The longer, warmer days beckon us and our kids outside and things just seem to happen. But then it’s back to school, logistics take over and couch potatoes (in both generations) often re-appear. It’s worth thinking about this transition now because now is when it’s happening. Many of us hit upon the idea of the logistical solution – find a class, join a team – if it’s in the schedule, it’s more likely to happen. And as we – and the preschools and kindergartens to which we send our children – all know, regular exercise is a very good idea. The old myths that young children are inherently sufficiently active, or that too much activity can harm the growing body – tales I heard from my grandmother – have been replaced with growing concern about shocking obesity levels in young children due to passive daily lives and unwise nutritional patterns. We know that there are short and long-term physical and mental benefits to regular exercise and that there are no short cuts to those benefits.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following for preschools:

  • An indoor play space should be available to allow sufficient running
  • Outdoor play should be scheduled twice a day
  • An outdoor play space should offer fixed and portable play equipment and a paved surface for wheeled toys
  • Active play time should never be withheld as punishment.

**Note to parents: are you sending your child off with the right clothing for such activities? This is a surprisingly frequent concern among teachers.

As for those scheduled team and class activities, keep a few things in mind. Preschoolers are not ready for competition. They won’t really understand winning vs. losing, ‘doing your best,’ ‘give the other kid a chance’ until they are in fourth grade. What they need now is for you to support the skills they are developing: running, chasing or hitting a ball, enjoying the water or snow and just beginning to understand that there is something called a ‘game’ or a ‘sport.’

But children learn better from what they see and experience, than from what they are told. So – as a family – keep fitness activity as a year-round habit.

  • Visit your playgrounds regularly and make it fun. Bring along some extra things like large balls, kites, ropes for jumping and (supervised!) tug-of-war. You can enrich the time by making an obstacle course (enjoyed by any child who can walk) through the playground and see who can remember it or finish it fastest.
  • Many families treasure weekly family walks. It generally takes some humoring for the more balky ones, but scavenger items usually work for our children.
  • When weather interferes, get out the large balls, exercise mats and Twister® games, or download some stretching and balancing exercises (to do together) from family fitness websites. Remember; keep your children away from exercise equipment for safety reasons.

Take a Hike!

In a survey by the Outdoor Foundation, it was found that children are primarily motivated by their families to participate in outdoor activities.  What better way to get children outdoors and active, than by going on a family hike?  Below are some tips for planning your hike so the littlest of hikers have a fun and rewarding experience.

  • Be prepared! Gear everyone up with appropriate, well-fitting hiking shoes or boots and comfortable, breathable clothing — bright colors (for little ones mostly) and layers are best.
  • Stock your backpacks with Deet-free bug spray, water, snacks, a well-stocked first-aid kit, GPS unit and rain gear, just in case.
  • If a child is too small to walk on their own, consider using a backpack carrier rather than a stroller.  It’ll be easier to maneuver over the terrain with baby in tow and they’re sure to enjoy the “bird’s-eye” view.
  • Establish and discuss “rules of the trail” before you head out, e.g., staying quiet to not disturb the animals, plants to steer clear of, not running off, etc.
  • Start with short hikes on easy trails with fairly flat surfaces to get everyone accustomed to the hiking experience.
  • Take your time. Go slow so everyone can keep up, but also to enjoy and explore your surroundings.
  • Geocaching or playing games on your hike are great ways to keep children interested and moving along.  Visit www.geocaching.com to find out more about this fun outdoor family activity.


Happy hiking!

Age Appropriate Fitness

Focusing your child’s physical fitness on fun activities will increase your child’s ability to move with confidence and competence.  Exercise increases overall metabolism, builds a healthy heart and lungs, strong bones and muscles, and improves coordination, balance, posture and flexibility.

Infant Gross MotorInfant

Encourage babies to explore activities that allow for reaching, rolling, sitting, crawling, pulling themselves up and walking.  ‘Tummy Time’ is the perfect opportunity for babies to practice lifting their heads and develop strong muscles.  Placing toys just out of reach encourages babies to reach for the toys, assisting in physical development. 

First Steps/Toddler

Support young toddlers mastery of walking by allowing them to be active!  Play with them as they learn to run, hop, dance and throw.  Have them chase bubbles or invent a silly walk – play becomes exercise.  Remember to always provide encouragement to toddlers as they build self-confidence.

Preschool +

Preschoolers need plenty of time and space to run around and play.  Taking your child to a playground or park is a great way to release energy and exercise!  Encourage creative dancing and riding scooters and tricycles.  Play ‘Statues’ by playing up-tempo music.  Have your child move while the music is playing and freeze into a statue when you pause it.  Play outside with your child and teach hand-eye coordination by showing the basics of throwing, catching and kicking a large, soft ball.

Fun with Fitness

Yoga BAn effective fitness program includes activities that promote physical activity in ways that are creative and fun, is clear and easy to implement, incorporates fun materials, includes opportunities to enhance personal and social skills, and integrates into other life experiences.

At the preschool level, there are a number of fun and exciting ways to introduce health and fitness at home. There are basic motor skill development areas to concentrate on such as running, jumping, hopping, galloping, side sliding, and leaping. There are also basic object control skills, which commonly use a ball such as rolling, throwing, catching, dribbling, kicking, and striking. Experiences with music and movement can enhance spatial awareness, basic body identification, loco-motor and non loco-motor skills, rhythm skills, motor memory, creativity, problem solving, language and listening skills, role-playing, social interactions, and self esteem.

Try these fun music and movement activities at home with your child:

The Freeze

Dance to the beat of your favorite music.  When you hear FREEZE, stop and pose like a status.  Then start the music again.

Shake My Sillies Out

I’ve got to shake, shake shake my sillies out…

I’ve got to wiggle, wiggle, wiggly my waggles out…

I’ve got to clap, clap, clap my crazies out…

I’ve got to jump, jump, jump my jiggles out…

I’ve got to yawn, yawn, yawn my sleepies out…

I’ve got to stretch, stretch, stretch my stretchies out…

Body Talk

To music of your choice:

Move your eyebrows up and down, move your nose like a bunny, move your cheeks like a frog, move your mouth like a fish, move your tongue like a lizard, move your arms like a gorilla!