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Tags: exercise

Going For Walks With Little Ones

Permalink 02/09/11 06:25, by Tikal, Categories: Health, Family, Days out, Kids Activities , Tags: adventure, exercise, healthy, outdoors, walks

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Going for walks is an ideal way to spend time with the family - it's free, it's healthy, it's outdoors, it's fun and educational and it's something you can all share together no matter your age or ability.  You can do it with other families, on your own or with other family members.  It can be a long, all day affair or just an hour trek. It can be in all sorts of different terrain: woodland, seashore, farm land or country paths.  Most of all, it's something to enjoy!

  • Getting the children out of the door: older children may have opinions on going for walks so do make sure you describe the walk as an adventure; an excursion or something exciting rather than just a walk.
  • Think of activities to do while on your adventure: collect things (feathers, pebbles, leaves) or spot things (acorns, birds, animal tracks).
  • Play "follow the arrow": take 3 sticks and arrange them in an arrow.  Send the children ahead and get them to make the arrow shape that will guide you all home.
  • Follow My Leader: get the children to decide on the route.  Ask them which paths to take or which way to turn.
  • Make a map: draw a map of the route as you go, marking on special land marks.
  • Snacks: take snacks to keep energy high and moral positive!  Offer snacks when they find things or spot something fun.
  • Play camouflage: send the children ahead and get them to hide.  When you are near get them to jump out and surprise you!
  • Do other things along the way: if you see logs, try and climb them, if you spot a brook try and cross it and any good climbing trees must be conquered!  Help the little ones to climb up - they will love it!
  • Be prepared for weather changes: take waterproofs as you don't want to be caught in a shower!
  • Take the right equipment: make sure everyone has wellies or walking shoes to avoid hearing moaning children (and adults!) if their feet get wet.
  • Listen to the children: if they get tired, try not to force them to go on... it may put them off for ever!

Get into the Habit

Permalink 24/05/11 06:22, by Tikal, Categories: Parenting, Health, Food, Drink and Eating , Tags: brushing teeth, eating, exercise, hygiene, safety, sun, suncream, teeth, tips, toilet

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Teaching your toddler some basic rituals when it comes to everyday livinhg is a great and easy way to introduce some good (and advisable!) habits into their lives. The more they get used to following these simple rules, the easier it will be to keep them safe and actually introduce them to some good practice.

  1. Hands Please - Make sure you get into the habit of washing hands in certain situations: before eating, after playing outside, after going to the toilet and after stroking pets. Make it more fun by having nice smelly soap that the children can reach and use on their own if they are old enough. Make sure there's a step to reach the tap and a nice fresh towel to wipe clean.
  2. Going To The Toilet - Teach the little ones how to wipe their bottoms as soon as they start going to the toilet. If they practice how to do it properly on their own from the start they will get into the habit and keep doing it when they go to the toilet alone. Make sure you teach them how to flush and close the toilet lip safely. Use moist wipes to ensure they are fresh.
  3. Teeth - Make sure you get your child to wash their teeth twice a day and do yours at the same time too to show them that you do it as well. Supervise and do the washing, but also let them try too and have a brush about. Explain that good brushing means healthy teeth and no uncomfortable cavities!
  4. Food Fun - Try and keep to a healthy diet. Sweet things are allowed, of course, but keep them to a minimum and after having eaten the healthy foods. Create a food chart to ensure you eat five fresh fruits or vegetables each day. Encourage the children to pick which fruit to have at the supermarket. Eat the fruit and vegetables in different ways: cooked in stews, cooked an their own, raw, chopped into slices or sticks. Make sure you choose colourful vegetables with your meals and even try presenting in different ways. Could broccoli and carrot sticks be a forest? Explain that sweet things are fine in moderation but that is the vitamins, minerals, dairy products, carbohydrates and all good foods that help us grow, give us energy and have fun. And, of course, drink lots of water too!
  5. Keep the Family Moving - Explain that keeping active is a fabulous way to have fun, keep healthy and keep happy! Do walks or bike rides together, or go for swimming sessions as a family. Walk to school or nursery when you can and walk to the local shops too. Run about in local parks or open spaces or head to soft play centres to climb and run and swing about. Get a bike for your little one as early as you can and encourage them to ride. Dance about and sing songs too and be as active as you can.
  6. Sleep Time - Getting enough sleep is vital for you and your child so make sure you get into the habit of good and long nights sleep from an early age. Of course there are often troubles with sleeping, but do you best to get them to sleep alone and go back to sleep when they wake in the night. Stick to regular bed times, make sure they are warm enough (though, not too hot!), that they have teddies/comforters nearby, that the room is dark but not too dark to make it alarming if they wake.
  7. Be Safe - Teach them some basic safety requirements and they will be less likely to have accidents throughout their childhood. Show them how to climb stairs and come down safely. Show them how to get into chairs and get out again. And practise over and again to make sure they are confident and safe.
  8. Sunny Days - Always apply suncream as a matter of course and keep it handy throughout the day should you need to re-apply. Make it a part of your routine when leaving the house so it becomes normal to apply the cream with minimum fuss.

New Mums are Unhealthy!

Permalink 28/04/11 06:43, by Tikal, Categories: Parenting, Health , Tags: childbirth, exercise, fitness, healthy eating, mothers, toddlers, wellbeing

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Parents of young children lead an unhealthy lifestyle, according to recent research.  Despite the notion that parents of toddlers spend their whole lives running after the little ones trying to catch them and keep them out of trouble, they are, in fact, not exercising enough.

The study has shown that parents of toddlers eat less healthily than their childless counterparts. Women with children drink more sugary drinks and eat fattier foods according to scientists and they are less active than women of a similar age who don't have children.

This is partly because they tend to choose the quick, less healthy option when it comes to eating because they simply don't have the time or energy to do any different, and they miss out on exercise because of being too tired, busy or having no childcare.

The research was undertaken at the University of Minnesota and published in the journal Pediatrics. The study was carried out to help identify whether parents of young children are at risk and whether they would benefit from advice on diet, exercise and healthy living.

The study looked at the lives of 1,500 adults aged around 25, many of whom were parents with children under five. On average the mothers consumed nearly 400 calories each day more than their childless counterparts. In order to prevent weight gain they should be exercising even more (walking about 3 miles a day) to counter balance. However, in reality they were exercising less than 2 hours a week at a moderate pace.

There are limitations to the findings:

  • The study did not show how many women had just had their babies and therefore had retained their baby/pregnancy weight.
  • There was no information on single parents and the effect of having just one parent in the home.
  • There was no information on the psychological health of the women who if suffering from depression may have experienced odd eating habits etc.

These are interesting findings and we would welcome more information on how we should look after ourselves after childbirth.

Why Bother with Ballet?

Permalink 18/01/11 07:33, by Tikal, Categories: Health, Kids Activities , Tags: ballet, dancing, exercise, fun, healthy, music

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Watching your little one skip and prance around a church hall wearing a sweet ballet skirt and pretty little ballet shoes is undeniably cute. However, why should we bother introducing ballet or any kind of dance into the lives of pre-schoolers?

  • Ballet is fun: The children's dance routines and exercises are made to be fun.  So they all enjoy the dance and stories that are told by the ballet teacher.
  • Exercise: It is great exercise!
  • Musicality: Listening to and dancing in time with music helps withtheir musicality.  If they may learn an instrument one day, being aware of music and timing when dancing will be fo great help.
  • Strength: It is physically demanding so therefore a great way to build strength and fitness and indeed flexibility.
  • Posture: They learn how to stand and walk correctly, which is a great lesson to learn early with regards posture and avoiding back pains from poor posture.  They also learn co-ordination and how to use their bodies.
  • Balance: They learn all about balance and how to correct themselves when unbalanced.  This is a great skill to have for dance but also for other sports and physical activities.
  • Mentally challenged: Those who find school difficult often excel in ballet because they feel they can express themselves more freely and easily when moving than when sitting still in class.  They are mentally challenged in a ballet class, but in a different way.
  • Social Skills: Ballet is a great chance to make new friends and to have fun with other children in a like minded environment.  They communicate about different things and work together as a team.
  • When to start?: Children can start as soon as they want to  and if there are classes available from as young as three, then enrol them!  They may not display much balletic prowess at this age, but they will begin to watch and learn from others.

Choose a class that is fun focused and that it is an accredited school either the Royal Academy of Dancing (RAD) or Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD).



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Hi! I'm Tikal the Toucan, the mascot for ToucanLearn. Follow my blog to find out interesting things relating to babies, toddlers and preschool children!

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