New year, new you, right? But what about our little ones? We all make such an effort in January to cut out the fatty foods & alcohol and get more exercise in an attempt to better ourselves; but what about our toddlers? Are they getting enough exercise?
Hopefully the answer to that is yes, as toddlers seem to have an unending repository of energy as they run rings around us on a daily basis. But what if there was a way of directing all that energy into an activity that can offer them a wealth of truly amazing benefits?
The fact is that toddlers are extremely adept at learning, which is precisely why now is the time to teach them healthy habits and social behaviours that will help to shape the rest of their lives. Let’s look at some of the benefits of gymnastics for toddlers as an example.
1 – Gymnastics helps to develop cognitive functions
Take a look at this video of a father trying to (unsuccessfully) teach his toddler how to make a snow angel. It is absolutely adorable, though it also highlights the importance of introducing your little ones to activities that help to develop their cognitive functions. Learning and completing a gymnastics activity requires both your brain and body to cooperate – thus bolstering their bodily & spatial awareness.
2 – Strengthen their bones
As we get older, we lose bone density. Hence why it is valuable to encourage weight-bearing activities that are essential in strengthening and promoting healthier bones. The earlier you jump on this, the more it can be of benefit later in life. Especially when your child gets to an age where they discover the monkey bars, skateboarding, or any other activity that is utterly petrifying as a parent.
3 – Bolsters coordination
Toddlers are incomprehensibly clumsy, as they’re still trying to figure out how to stand up properly and find their equilibrium. Gymnastics is the perfect activity for improving their coordination. Simple activities like standing, walking and jumping will help to improve their balance, and hand-eye coordination. So, if you’re tired of watching your toddler bump into everything in their proximity, then gymnastics could be a great opportunity to explore!
4 – Gymnastics promotes discipline and self-control
Discipline and self-control are two very valuable qualities to instil in your toddler from as early an age as possible. This will not only allow them to work better with others, but to be more reliant on themselves when carrying out a task as well.
You may also notice a reduction in their little tantrums (no guarantees) as they develop their problem solving skills. The repetition of learning a new routine also helps to teach them the value in perseverance, and subsequently the wonderful sense of achievement that comes with it.
5 – Promotes strength and fitness
In addition to developing stronger, healthier bones, gymnastics promotes overall strength and fitness. When performing the body strengthening exercises involved with gymnastics, your little one will enhance their upper body, lower body, and overall core strength as a result. This will aid them in learning new activities and help to prevent injury as they grow.
6 – Enhanced flexibility and posture
As you know, gymnastics promotes flexibility, which is another great quality that helps to reduce the chances of injury. But more importantly, having enhanced flexibility is vital in promoting healthy posture as they move forward in life, resulting in far fewer back and spine related issues in the future.
7 – A good start for a healthy life
More physical sports, such as gymnastics, can be essential in promoting and maintaining a strong and healthy body. By teaching your toddler these healthy behaviours so early on in their development, they will be much more likely to carry them forward with them later in life. Starting them off with a healthy lifestyle can greatly decrease the chances of them battling with diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and cancer (to name a few). We all know there are no guarantees in life, but engaging in healthy activities can go a long way towards keeping your toddler happy and healthy!
8 – Confidence & self-esteem
Most toddlers seem to be pretty confident, especially when it comes to throwing tantrums in front of everyone in Tesco. However, they can easily find social situations overwhelming and be rather shy, seemingly without any consistency. This is another reason to introduce your little ones to gymnastics at an early age – learning to work within a class and performing with others can work wonders towards boosting their confidence and overall self-esteem.
Developing these qualities at such an early age can be incredibly valuable later in life. For example, when attending their first day at school, talking to new people or playing the rear-end of a camel in their first nativity play!
9 – They can meet their daily exercise needs
Something as simple as attending one gymnastics session a week increases your child’s activity levels on that day more than you might think, helping them burn energy and meet their daily exercise needs. But that’s not all – because during their time off, they will definitely be having fun and practising their new moves. Certainly, you might get bored of seeing the same handstand for the 100th time, but at least they’ll be wearing themselves out, ready for an early night (fingers crossed).
10 – It’s a whole lot of fun!
Yes, there are tonnes of other amazing benefits that come with gymnastics for toddlers, however the most important thing of all is that they will have so much fun in the process! Gymnastics will introduce them to new friends and allow them to spend their time doing what toddlers love best: running around like a crazy person, chasing balloons and doing rolly-polly’s!
We hope that you have found this introductory blog post helpful and recognise some of the benefits introducing your toddler to gymnastics can have. Remember though, these are just a small sample. Next week we’re going to explore some of the mental health benefits that come with gymnastics, a topic which is sadly more relevant today than ever before.
If you are interested in exploring our classes further, simply follow the link to find out where your toddler fits best. Following that, we’d love to hear from you so that you can book a free trial class. This will give you the perfect opportunity to introduce your toddler to some of the activities and see how they find it. There’s absolutely no obligation to commit, but we would certainly recommend that you pop down and try it out.