After I had my daughter, I felt immense pressure due to my career to quickly get back in shape and religiously hit the Gym 3-4 times a week, paying expensive fees and then, as my daughter hit toddlerdom, I realised that I didnt need to keep paying out for expensive Gym fees, my workout was under my nose!
There was a test done a few years ago, which stated that toddlers have more energy and can keep going for longer than athletes! I know for a fact that some Mothers are
exhausted at the end of the day by the energy of their tiny children.
Although Children will become extremely drawn towards TV viewing and may sit for hours, it is a fact that they are happier racing around and being practical in their play
and this must be encouraged.
As a dance expert, I have seen the many benefits that a strenuous dance workout can add to a Childs development, inspired by fun and funky tunes that they love and provided with age appropriate routines and exercises, any child cannot fail to enjoy a great Dance Class and it is indeed a fantastic fitness solution, as even Sainsbury’s Active Kids are now offering dance sessions within schools in exchange for their vouchers, (of which I have been privileged to be a part of) It has been fascinating watching the enthusiasm of children who may not have been exposed to this type of exercise.
This in turn is relevant to all children – especially the young – Everyone has noticed how a young child reacts to pop music and will move rhythmically to the music, they have a natural rhythm and the music creates an added layer of enjoyment to the exercise.
IDEAS: Both Mummy and Child can play favourite tunes and “freestyle” to their hearts content.
Try these with your toddler and attempt for the child (as young as 18 months) to mirror your
actions. Put on your favourite song and…..
Hands on hips and move the hips R to L (“wiggle action”).
Roly Poly action with the arms in front of the body and then to the Right side and repeat to the Left side.
Arms outstretched in a horizontal position, turn slowlyaround to the Right and then to the Left.
Clapping hands and moving rhythmically with the body.
Attempt steps around the room, large steps, small steps, walking tall, walking small.
Have fun Dancing around to the music, try hopping, jumping, skipping etc.
Take lengths of ribbon and make patterns with the ribbons, twirling them around to you or your Childs favourite song.
Work on important eye to hand co-ordination skills by practicing throwing and catching bean bags or small soft balls.
Use action songs that your toddler will love to dance to
(Disco Duck has some super action songs to dance to!)
Before you know it both Mummy and Toddler will have finished
30 minutes of fun exercise without even noticing – who needs the Gym?
Joelys favourite song when she was 2 was “Push the Button” By the Sugarbabes, we were dancing in the kitchen one evening, obvlivious to the fact that the builder (currently finishing our conservatory at the time) was watching us intently through the window…………..
Hughes ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing) Fellow and
Examiner/Creator of Disco Duck Pre-School Dance