Raising a Fit Preschoolerenparentshttps://kidshealth.org/EN/images/headers/P-fitPreschool-enHD-AR1.jpgPreschoolers have a lot of energy, and the physical skills and coordination to ride a tricycle or chase a butterfly.preschooler, fitness, fit preschooler, healthy preschooler, preschool, exercise, exercise for kids, exercise for my child09/02/200511/17/201711/17/2017Mary L. Gavin, MD10/14/20141d6c46e6-fa63-4a68-b7d4-536cf20b7144https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/fit-preschooler.html/<p>Preschoolers have a lot of energy, which they use in a more organized way than when they were toddlers. Instead of just running around in the backyard, a preschooler has the physical skills and coordination to ride a tricycle or chase a butterfly.</p> <p>Preschoolers also are discovering what it means to play with a friend instead of just alongside another child, as toddlers do. By being around other kids, a preschooler gains important social skills, such as sharing and taking turns. Despite occasional conflicts, preschoolers learn to cooperate and interact during play.</p> <h3>Helping Kids Learn New Skills</h3> <p>Preschoolers develop important motor skills as they grow. New skills your preschooler might show off include hopping, jumping forward, catching a ball, doing a somersault, skipping, and balancing on one foot. Help your child practice these skills by playing and exercising together.</p> <p>When you go for a walk, your preschooler may complain about being tired but most likely is just bored. A brisk walk can be dull for young kids, so try these tips to liven up your family stroll:</p> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li>Make your walk a scavenger hunt by giving your child something to find, like a red door, a cat, a flag, and something square.</li> <li>Sing songs or recite nursery rhymes while you walk.</li> <li>Mix walking with jumping, racing, hopping, and walking backward.</li> <li>Make your walk together a mathematical experience as you emphasize numbers and counting: How many windows are on the garage door? What numbers are on the houses?</li> </ul> <p>These kinds of activities are fun <em>and</em> also help to prepare kids for school.</p> <h3>How Much Activity Is Enough?</h3> <p>Physical activity guidelines for preschoolers recommend that each day:</p> <ul> <li>they get at least 60 minutes of structured (adult-led) physical activity</li> <li>they get at least 60 minutes of unstructured (free play) physical activity</li> <li>they not be inactive for more than 1 hour at a time unless sleeping</li> </ul> <p>Limit screen &mdash; time spent watching TV (including videos and DVDs), on the computer, and playing video games &mdash; to no more than 1-2 hours per day.</p> <h3>Structured Play</h3> <p>Preschoolers are likely to get structured play at childcare or in preschool programs through games like "Duck, Duck, Goose" and "London Bridge." Consider enrolling your child in a preschool tumbling or dance class.</p> <p>Your preschooler can get structured outdoor play at home, too. Play together in the backyard or practice motor skills, such as throwing and catching a ball. Preschoolers also love trips to the playground.</p> <p>Though many kids love being&nbsp;outdoors, lots of fun things can be organized indoors: a child-friendly obstacle course, a treasure hunt, or forts made out sheets and boxes or chairs. Designate a play area and clear the space of any breakables.</p> <p>Here are some more ideas for structured play:</p> <ul> <li>play bounce catch</li> <li>use paper airplanes to practice throwing</li> <li>balance a beanbag on your heads while walking &mdash; make this more challenging by setting up a simple slalom course</li> <li>play freeze dance</li> <li>play wheelbarrow by holding your child's legs while he or she walks forward on hands</li> </ul> <p>Many parents are eager to enroll their preschool child in organized sports. Although some leagues may be open to kids as young as 4 years old, organized and team sports are not recommended until kids are a little older. Preschoolers can't understand complex rules and often lack the attention span, skills, and coordination needed to play sports.</p> <p>If you decide to enroll your preschooler in an organized team sport, such as T-ball or soccer, make sure the focus is on helping kids gain basic physical skills, like running, and fundamental social skills, like following rules and taking turns.</p> <p>If your preschooler is not ready for the team or not interested in sports, consider helping him or her continue to work on fundamental skills &mdash; hopping on one foot, catching a ball, doing a somersault, and maybe riding a bicycle or tricycle.</p> <p>To teach preschoolers to play baseball, start by teaching them basic skills, such as throwing, catching, and hitting off a T-ball stand. Then, if you play a game of wiffle ball, don't worry if your child doesn't tag first base &mdash; it's enough to get kids running in the right direction.</p> <h3>Unstructured Play</h3> <p>Unstructured or free play is when kids are left more to their own devices &mdash; within a safe environment. During these times, they should be able to choose from a variety of physical activities, such as exploring, playing outside, or dancing around the kitchen.</p> <p>During pretend play, preschoolers often like to take on a gender-specific role because they are beginning to identify with members of the same gender. A girl might pretend to be her mother by "working" in the garden, while a boy might mimic his dad by pretending to cut the lawn.</p> <p>It's clear your preschooler is keeping an eye on how you spend your time, so set a good example by exercising regularly. Kids who pick up on this as something parents do will naturally want to do it, too.</p> <h3>Safety Concerns</h3> <p>No matter what type of physical activity your child gets, it's important to keep safety concerns in mind. Remember that preschoolers are still developing coordination, balance, and judgment.</p> <p>So as preschoolers play, a parent's challenge is to find a balance between letting them try new things and keeping them safe and preventing injuries.</p> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li>A child on a tricycle or <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/bike-safety.html/">bike</a> should always wear a helmet.</li> <li>If you haven't done so already, it's time to talk about street safety because even the most cautious preschooler may dart into the street after a ball.</li> <li>A preschooler in a <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/water-safety.html/">swimming pool</a> needs constant adult supervision, even if he or she has learned to swim.</li> </ul> <p>It's a tricky age because kids want more independence, and should have some, but cannot be left unsupervised. Preschoolers still need their parents to set limits.</p> <p>Giving kids safe opportunities to play in both organized and unstructured ways builds a foundation for a fit lifestyle that can carry them through life.</p>
Kids and ExerciseBesides enjoying the health benefits of regular exercise, kids who are physically fit are better able to handle physical and emotional challenges.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/exercise.html/f2ac8b06-6d72-4382-8b53-dee0908bc566
Motivating Preschoolers to Be ActiveA preschooler's desire to move, move, move makes this a great time to encourage fitness habits that can last a lifetime.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/active-preschooler.html/fa6e5a6b-454c-4e7a-93e1-66a433f7d8da
Safe Exploring for PreschoolersKids ages 3-5 have tons of energy and are eager to walk, run, dance, and play. It's a great age for exploration too.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/preschool-explore.html/fe7d9003-85b5-475b-9af2-07a252dc2344
Sleep and Your PreschoolerPreschoolers sleep about 11 to 12 hours during each 24-hour period, and it's important to help them develop good habits for getting to sleep.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/sleep-preschool.html/895ac3ff-7a96-4c3f-8960-81cc1a07b511
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kh:age-preschoolerThreeToFivekh:clinicalDesignation-behavioralHealthkh:genre-articlekh:primaryClinicalDesignation-gastroenterologyAndNutritionWeightManagementFun & Gameshttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/play-learn-center/fun-games/8460285e-bcd9-44c5-991d-1b590d5f8cb9Staying Fithttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/nutrition-center/staying-fit/e2c09005-3007-4117-9b82-1a2401cdf977