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Raising Fit Kids

Parents are inundated with a long list of all the things needed to raise a healthy child. But beyond just healthy eating (which sometimes can be a difficult task in itself), adequate sleep, and proper hygiene, young children also need plenty of exercise to keep their bodies and minds healthy and happy.

I know what you’re thinking! At the end of a long day, the last thing you want to do is schedule time outside to play, but did you know that exercise is literally good for the brain? Not only do physically-active students tend to have better grades, attendance, and cognitive memory, but exercise also boosts their immune systems!

In March 2020 the American Academy of Pediatrics released a report with specific recommendations for exercise:

  • For infants: physical movement several times a day through interactive floor-based play.
  • For kids age 3 to 5: three hours or more of physical activity every day.
  • For kids 6 to 17 years old: 60 minutes of physical activity daily.

We know daily physical activity is necessary for building strong bones and muscles, as well as strengthening hearts and lungs. Exercise also helps young children improve their gross motor skills, like running, kicking, throwing, and swinging. Regular physical activity can greatly decrease children’s risks of becoming obese, as well as promotes better sleep. And don’t we all want our kids to have a good night’s sleep so we can have uninterrupted sleep?

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Something I feel isn’t discussed enough are the consequences of inactive children, and I’m not talking about obesity. Children have lots of energy, and they need an outlet to burn that energy. In quality early childhood programs, children spend much of their day engaged in active play because they have a need to move, fidget, and wiggle.

You don’t have to schedule long walks on the trail, although that’s nice. There are little things you can do like giving chores that involve gross motor movement like vacuuming, walking the dog, or cleaning up the yard. Parking the car farther away from the entrance, which allows for lots of movement before entering a store, and taking the stairs over the elevator are just a couple of ways you can burn some energy.

Parents, you don’t have to dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s in raising kids, but ensuring children are active in their younger years will help them in and out the classroom in their later years.

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Kishia Saffold
Author: Kishia Saffold

Kishia Saffold is the owner of Kiddie Care Learning Center in Dothan and Enterprise. She has a Masters of Business Administration from Troy University and a B.A. in Communication from Alabama State University. She is a wife to Jeffery and mother to daughter, Kiera.

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Raising Fit Kids

by Kishia Saffold time to read: 3 min