Whether you already have some concerns about your kid’s weight, or you’re trying to be proactive, it’s important to choose the right exercise activity for kids under age 5. You don’t want the activity to be too long, or too difficult, and you definitely don’t want to crush their tiny little spirit into never wanting to exercise again.
Do’s And Don’ts Of Exercising
Don’t Call It Exercise
Shhhh, don’t tell them it’s exercise. It’s just a game… where they sweat a lot.
Kids, even as young as five, are quick to make associations with what they don’t like and what “isn’t fun”. Games are always fun, but exercise can be tedious and you don’t want to color their judgement for future plans. As they get older they’ll need to participate in more structured exercise, but for now treat it like a game.
Don’t Make It A Punishment
Avoid using exercising as a deterrent to eating habits or poor behavior. It’s tempting, because you want to instill cause and effect with eating junk food or misbehaving but it ends up causing more headaches in the future.
Examples you don’t think will cause problems but can change their perception of physical activities:
“If you eat that you have to exercise later”
“If you can’t play quietly, we might have to do some exercising.”
Do Make It Fun
Don’t focus on exercising, or burning calories, or any of the stuff most adults worry about when they exercise. Your primary goal is to have fun. Get them to laugh, be silly, and have fun with them. The more they enjoy the activity, the more willing they are to do it again… and again… and again.
Do Keep It Short
It’s better to plan three, seven minute activities spread throughout the day rather than get frustrated with a twenty minute activity that doesn’t go well because they lose focus.
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Best Exercises For Kids Under Age 5
One of the best games you can get on today’s consoles. But the best part about this series is you don’t even have to have the console! When they’re this young, they don’t really care if it’s a video or a game. They just like the music and the dancing.
Just play a recorded video of the game, and they’ll dance and jump around for 10-15 minutes.
Yoga For Kids
Exercise DVDs for kids
Unfortunately, the options for exercise dvds created specifically for kids under age 5 is really limited. Here’s the best available:
Kick to Get Fit Jr. – For Kids
Although this is created by a martial arts instructor, and includes many kicking techniques, it’s tailored for young children with no emphasis on hitting. So instead of punching or kicking a person you’re asked to kick an imaginary ball or pick fruit.
6 Fit Kids Workouts (Judy Notte Howard)
This is primarily a dance instructional video for kids. It’s separated by difficulty and allows you to choose what you want to do. Young children will find the longer 15 minute exercises far too challenging, but the shorter 5 min videos are very silly and worth trying.
It also has some staying power, as you’ll be able to use the more difficult exercises when your child is a little older.
DVDs Too Hard For Kids Under 5
These are very good exercise videos for kids over 10, but won’t be a good choice for most younger children.
Denise Austin’s Fit Kids
Shaun T’s Fit Kids Club
Kari Anderson – Shake
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