Toddler Exercise

Simple ways to accommodate toddler exercise in your natural daily routine

Years ago parents had no need to be concerned whether their little ones were getting enough exercise. Kids were perfectly safe running around their neighborhood, playing in fields near their homes, walking to the shop, riding bikes on the road or playing in parks.

With the coming of the computer age and the development of computer games, Wii, PlayStation and the like, parents are not only dealing with less space for their children to run and play, also with safety issues from human wickedness as well as massively increased traffic on the roads, but they now too have to pull their children away from sedentary entertainment like those listed above and find ways to keep them more active.

Parenting tip

While most parents reading this article may only have toddlers, the time will come when you ask yourself - is my child getting enough exercise?

There are some ways you can tell if your child is not active enough:
1. Is your child lethargic?
2. Is your toddler not settling for naps and bedtime?
3. Is your toddler constipated even though you feed them enough whole foods and fruit and veg?

These could all be indicators that your toddler or pre-schooler is not active enough and will need you to intervene.

You And Your Toddler Exercise

You and your toddler

While some may feel the need to enroll their children in toddler exercise classes to combat the effects of inactivity here are some easy frugal options to help your toddler.

1. So that you can rule out constipation from bad eating make sure that your toddler is eating from all the food groups every day. Making sure that they are offered and eat a variety of foods will keep their bowels working properly and they will get the nutrients they need to live active playing lives like they should be at this time of their life.

2. Make sure that your routines are in place for their days. Do not be tempted to fill the day with activity that encourages many car journeys, but rather give them good free growing time in their own homes and walks, bike rides and the like around your home.

3. Walk if you can instead of drive. Is your library close by? Walk with your toddler on a push bike or holding your hand. Do you need only a few groceries from the shop? Walk if the purchases will fit in one bag leaving the other for your toddler to hold onto.

4. Plan a weekly get together at a park with friends and their little ones, pack a picnic and take some balls for them to run around, kick, catch and throw.

5. Limit screen time. My personal opinion is that computers and Play-stations should not have ANY place in a young child's life (and should be severely limited at any age) however I know that my idealistic nature is not shared by all parents. A safe time limit is 1 hr TOTAL exposure to screen time each day.

6. Make sure that when you buy toys they are ones that are more active than passive. Bats and balls, bikes, jungle gyms (climbing frames), paddling pools and other toys like this are much more valuable in the long run. Also consider large piece floor puzzles, toddler twister and floor games like that for days when the weather limits your outdoor activities.

7. Encourage your toddler to help you with your house cleaning. Pushing a broom, dusting, vacuuming are all great ways to get natural toddler exercise.

8. Likewise, get your children to work in the garden with you.

Character building

It is human nature to not push your body but to rather be lazy and find passive forms of entertainment and easier ways to do things like drive a short distance instead of walking.

Perhaps you need to address your sedentary choices as well as those in your children's lives. It is a well-known fact that our children do what we do and do less of what we say. Our lives and choices speak very loudly to our children. If you spend your time lying on a couch watching TV, then they will see that as normal.

On the other hand if they see you making the right health choices with regards to food and exercise they will undoubtedly be shaped by those choices. Simply ask yourself where you need to make the changes and take your toddler along for the ride.


Make an exercise chart with your toddler to track their activity. You can do it as a reward chart and take them somewhere special at the end of the challenge. When my children were young one of their favourite outings was to an indoor climbing, clambering play place. Perhaps you have a place like that nearby?

You can also download this generic chart if you would prefer to have something on hand immediately.

Remember make it as fun as possible, no need to force this issue when fun is involved.

Child's Exercise Chart

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