Sound Body, Sound Mind: The Basics of Developmental WellnessMar 03, 2021
Sound Body, Sound Mind…It’s Important For Babies And Toddlers Too!
This ancient Roman phrase from two thousand years ago still holds true today: ‘Mens sand in corpora sanum’ - ‘A healthy mind lives in a healthy body’ - has now been proven to be scientifically true! Research is finding that our intellectual and psychological wellbeing is intimately related to our physical health and how we see ourselves physically. A Swedish study (see below) linked cardiovascular fitness to higher scores on logical, verbal, technical and visuospatial capabilities. The study even linked physical wellbeing to socioeconomic status and educational attainment later in life.
Parents often ask,
“What is physical wellbeing for my child?”
In the earliest years, physical wellbeing is not about running marathons or participating in athletics. So, what is it? The answer is Developmental Wellness. Developmental Wellness is the acquisition and purposeful expression of the many motor milestones that can lead to a lifetime of physical fitness and wellbeing. Introducing and exercising age-appropriate physical skill abilities is a great way to prepare your child for the playground, future sports, and a lifetime of physical wellbeing!
So how do you do this? Simple: Notice a developmental milestone your child is exhibiting, then offer many different ways to repeat that skill. Repetition of developmental milestones is “exercising” for your child, setting a strong foundation for later physical wellbeing. It’s as easy as that!
Here is a practical, and easy way to incorporate that into your day:
Whether your child is doing tummy-time, crawling, pulling up, walking, running, or jumping, the best way to engage and exercise your child’s developmental wellness is to offer lots of opportunities to express the current milestone. Do all of your normal play, but then change the surfaces your child is playing on. Play on the floor as usual, but then switch to a bed, a couch, a pile of pillows, grass, sand (or a blanket covering the sand), and utilize playground equipment. Think about surfaces that are stable and less stable, high and low, wide and narrow, soft and hard. Assist your child in exploring and stabilizing balance on the new surfaces. Observe how your child compensates for the new challenges of each environment. Get creative, have fun, and practice your child’s current physical milestone to make it the best it can be! Remember:
Sooner is not better, thorough is best!
Aim for more fun and healthier development through purposeful play!
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