All of the parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles out there know the responsibility that comes with having a child. Yet all of the hard work and selfless dedication provides a wonderful opportunity that is often overlooked. Embracing and engaging in all of the developmental milestones allows you to revisit, and even restore, many functions of our youth.
Children are in constant motion, it’s how we are wired to learn. When we’re little our brains and bodies are constantly expanding, and we explore every new horizon we come across. Simple problem solving, fine and gross motor skills, communication and creative expression are being developed and enhanced. There is magic and beauty in youth. If you are blessed to be around it as an adult, don’t miss the chance to partake in every part of that world.
If you have an infant or toddler, get down on the ground! Lay on your back or side and engage with them. You have a chance to stretch your spine and hips in a foundational way (without having to go to yoga class!). Crawling, scootching, and sitting on the floor in various positions develop core strength and flexibility at all ages. Kids don’t worry about “form”, they are stimulated and excited by their environment and react. Follow their lead!
Kids are little people that operate in a big persons world. Climbing up stairs or onto couches is a big deal for them. It also is instrumental for developing strength and coordination through all angles. They constantly vary their stimulus, playing with multiple toys of various sizes, using both hands (and feet), and switching up speed and effort level. They are laying down a foundation. As adults it’s hard for us to recreate this.
Join in all the activities you can. Chase them and race them. Dance, play music, and sing songs. Whatever sport or game they want to create, play along. Jump over cracks and climb on rocks. Watch how varied and natural their actions are. They change speeds, stride length, and foot positions without thinking about it. They’ll use both hands to reach for and throw things. They’ll break out into random stretches or collapse on the ground. They provide us with a glimpse of functional movement and exercise in its purest form. Take advantage of it whenever you see it!