Playtime for babies!

Playtime for babies!

The best gift one can give to their kids is to keep them active. Let the kids grow at their own pace would be the next best gift you would bestow upon...

The best gift one can give to their kids is to keep them active. Let the kids grow at their own pace would be the next best gift you would bestow upon your child. Playing games with your baby is fun, and that reason may be the best to do it.

Physical activity is vital for child’s development and will in fact set up a foundation for healthy and active life. Early physical activity does not mean exercises or workouts, this would however be definitely apt for adults. But for now, let’s keep kids away from this boring routine at gyms.

The physical activity in babies will be appropriate according to their age. Physical activity in infants will be passive movements and mostly learning to crawl and walk, whereas, in toddlers’ activity refers to running around and reaching objects and the list goes on according to age.

There is overwhelming wealth of evidence to support this thought of active babies. So how does activity help kids? The benefits are well studied and documented and include but not limited to the following.

  • Promote healthy growth and development.
  • Maintain and achieve healthy body weight.
  • Builds strong bones and muscles.
  • Improve balance coordination and strength.
  • Maintain and develop flexibility.
  • Assist with development of gross and fine motor skills.
  • Help establish connections between different parts of the brain.
  • Improving concentration and thinking skills.
  • Provide opportunities to develop social skills and making friends.
  • Improves sleep.

Early childhood (0-5yrs) is a crucial time for establishing healthy behaviours and patterns that will carry over to later childhood adolescence and adulthood. Gone are the days when it is assumed that children are naturally physically active. With changing times, parenting styles have also been shifting paradigm, opting for more of organised sport and recreation programmes.

This alarming trend is leading to mechanical kids who are disconnected with themselves when active and doing activity just because they “have to”. So how can we encourage naturally active kids? Emerging research points out to dividing the activities into three broad categories. Structured physical activity, unstructured physical activity and sedentary/screen time.

With structured physical activity, set up a specific amount of time age appropriate where parents along with their children can do activities together. This could include stretching, playing with toys in infants. In toddlers (1-3 yrs) and pre-schoolers (3-5 yrs) schedule a time for combined fun based physical activities. This is beneficial to both parents and children with both getting their share of activity and having fun together and promotes strong bonding with in the family.

What is unstructured physical activity, you might be wondering? This is just letting the kids play to their intuitions. This time need not be for a specific period of time nor at a particular point of time in the day. When kids are not doing structured physical activity, they are on unstructured activity. Let them play their imaginations. This activity could be indoor or outdoor activity, or just helping in daily chores, under supervision though. Provide a safe playing environment and let the tiny tots imagine and explore their freedom.

Most common hindrance that kids often go through during activities is natures calls! More often than not they are interrupted by wet nappies or that untimely potty calls. For one to enjoy uninterrupted activities, choose a good quality nappies/diapers. The ideal one should be lightweight with extra absorbent, does not get heavy. One more feature vital for a good diaper is no leakages in the edges more importantly in the groins. Happy kid is one who gets adequate sleep. To ensure good night sleep, change diaper just before sleeping time. Last but not the least and what is turning on to be a major evil of present day parenting perils is the idle time also called screen time.

Kids now a days are doing the opposite of what they are supposed to do. Spending more time watching TV or playing on mobiles/iPads. There are benefits of screen time, however the risks outweigh such benefits and end up doing more harm than intended to! Limit the screen time age appropriately. And allow electronics in intervals rather than continuous or prolonged periods. Refrain from putting up television sets in bed rooms.

By: Dr Hasini Yadav, Founder of NewMumz Hub & Mathrusakhi Foundation, Expertise Writer, Wellness Expert, Parental Advisor & Motivational Speaker

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