Tuesday, August 23, 2011

When In Doubt, Get Out!

This is our #1 family motto in the Canter house. When those winter days are getting to you, get out of the house! When it is spring or fall, and you can take a leisurely stroll, do it! When it’s summer and you can get into some safe water play, or have a social interaction with friends/family outdoors, motivate. I am a big believer in getting outdoors—for your own enjoyment and to set an example of healthy lifestyle.

I am also a big believer in starting outdoor movement at a very young age. This may sound a bit extreme—and I am not being proud parent of the year here and preaching to you all—but our 4-year-old boys and 8–year-old girls can hike 3+ miles. We go for a family walk once or twice a week for an extended period (weekends in an awesome place by us called Rockefeller Park). We also make it a priority to do a few laps at our local track with the kids when possible. How are our kiddos such solid walkers? Here are Dr. Jen’s tips for promoting sassy & smart physical wellness for babies and toddlers:
  1. When in doubt, get out! That extra bit of motivation (we’re all exhausted!!) does wonders for your mood and your baby’s stimulation. 
  2. Get out of the stroller as soon as you can! Start by short walks when your toddler is stable enough to be on his own two feet. Slowly move into longer walks, and gradually get that little one out of the stroller! We did it when each set of twins were two (except for airports!). We didn’t turn back. We’d go to the zoo and sometimes end up carrying one of the kids for a period, but we’d recharge with a snack/hydration. Visits were shorter at first, but we gradually built up. Unless of course your child has a medical or developmental reason to be in the stroller longer, don’t use the stroller as a crutch for your own convenience. Get those kiddos up and out! 
  3. Healthy food—the eating rainbow—is another critical element to family health and wellness outdoors. Prepare healthy snacks & hydration. (One Sassy Doctor is a no juice momma.) 
  4. Finally—create fun & sassy ways for outings to be developmentally stimulating and fun. Where’s the tree? Where’s the snow? What color is snow? Snow is white. Talk, play, and use this special time and a wonderful and magical aspect to parenting. 
Hope to see you strolling in the park one day!