Raising Up Happy and Active Children
by Juling from Hawaii
Thinking about children, the first words that would come to my mind are always energetic, curious, ready to learn, etc. Actually, I think in general, it is hard not to keep children active. It feels like they have tiny self-sufficient motors inside them, which never stop moving. I believe that physical activity is a very important part in each kid’s growth. For example, it helps boost their appetite; it stimulates their brain development; it also helps them build up the connection between themselves and the surrounding world.
I noticed that for the first couple of years, some of the most exciting children’s milestones are about their physical abilities. I would like to share some of the games that my kids and I loved to play when they were infants.
In this activity, I lie down on my back and pull my knees towards my chest. Meanwhile I catch my baby under her armpits, letting her face toward me, then put her body on my lower legs. My baby’s armpits will be about the same level as my knees. So when I pull my knees closer to my chest, my baby will be on her tummy descending; whereas when I have my knees aways from my chest, my baby will be ascending. To make it more fun, I mimic the airplane sound and say the word “up” or “down” at the end along with the motion. When we played this game, my baby always gave me a big smile or even giggled after a while, although at first she was a bit more cautious. I think this is a game more suitable for the babies who have developed strong neck muscles that can hold his or her head properly. And it is a great experience for developing language skills as well. Because they would be at least familiar with the sounds of two opposite words “up” and “down” along with their meanings in the motion.
Yoga Ball Exercises
I suppose many moms have yoga balls at home, and it is useful during pregnancy for all the prenatal exercises. But it is useful after the babies arrive as well. Here comes the yoga ball tummy time. It is a variation of tummy time and it is more fun compared with doing the tummy time on the floor or the bed, especially for the babies who hate tummy time like my little one. Because the yoga ball gives my baby more space for her face and the ball is generally soft and more comfortable for her. One thing that is worth mentioning is that I usually put a receiving blanket on the yoga ball before I put my baby on it, just in case she spit some milk or drooled too much. During the activity, by rocking the yoga ball back and forth, it gave her different levels of support for her tummy. So, I can adjust according to the strength development of her neck muscles. Also, when she grew a bit older trying to learn how to sit, I would put her on the yoga ball, gently bounce up and down. It was another fun game to play and a good exercise as well. Then moving forward with the milestones, when her legs became stronger and she learned to stand up, I helped her “jump” on the yoga ball. She would “ask” me to do it again and again by trying to do the jumping motion.
These are the simple but fun activities for me and my children; we all enjoyed the interaction between us while we were doing them. I believe that when moms become a part of the activities, keeping the children happy and healthy becomes an easier task. Just as someone said before, “the mother is the best toy for a child.”
Note from wichealth
For safety, hold your baby securely when they are laying on a yoga ball. Keep both hands on your baby when they are sitting up on a yoga ball. Do not leave your baby alone with a yoga ball.
This blog was written by one of our guest bloggers, Juling.
My name is Juling. I am a mom with two daughters, 5-year-old Grace and 1.5-year-old Kaili. Our family lives on the beautiful island of O’ahu, Hawaii. We enjoy both the beach time and the indoor time.