Like healthy eating habits, being physically fit and active begins about the time a child learns to walk. We all know that we thought taking care of an infant was tough UNTIL that sweet, immobile child began to crawl and then walk providing him/her the ability to get into everything. If we worried before about their safety, we’ve ventured into a different level of worry now.
As a parent or caregiver, we must engage our toddler in activities that will encourage and teach safe movement skills as well as providing opportunities for learning through communication. Simply allowing your toddler to entertain him/herself might lead to more lethargic entertainment and infrequent interaction with others. Engaging your toddler in planned activities that encourage not just physical but social interaction will benefit both you and your child in terms of parent-child bonding, language development and opportunities to learn and grow both emotionally and socially.
Children, believe it or not, can become bored sometimes leading to irrational and even destructive behaviors. This type of behavior can lead to other inappropriate behaviors more difficult to reverse and which could even be harmful to your developing child. Planning time for structured activities interspersed with spontaneous activities offers your child a balance between opportunities to learn and learning opportunities.
As a parent that wants only the best for your child, taking time to research and plan activities to engage your toddler’s sense of adventure and his/her desire to learn is paramount to raising grounded children. Many communities offer programs specifically geared to providing toddlers and children learning experiences. By contacting your local or regional library, school system or simply reviewing your telephone book, you’ll be surprised at the number of resources available to you for activities you can participate with your child. Additionally, there are many online search engines and books providing invaluable information on this subject.
So remember parents, being a parent is just like being a teacher. Although teachers are college educated and trained to provide learning opportunities and experiences for children of all ages, there should be no difference in your level of preparation. Teachers don’t simply wake up in the morning, walk into their classrooms and “wing it” and neither should we. Teachers research, prepare and plan using every resource available to them. When parenting a toddler or any aged child for that matter, moms, dads and caregivers should be equally prepared and enthusiastic in order to provide quality learning opportunities and experiences for and with your child. Young children are like sponges, eager and willing to absorb anything presented to them. We should take every opportunity given us to “teach” our children and insure that experience as many things during this stage of developmental in their lives because as many of us have learned, as the child gets older, suddenly he/she knows it all.
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