By Jen #supermom
We all know by now how instrumental physical exercise is for each of us (along with a healthy balanced diet of course). As with introducing our children to healthy foods/creating healthy food habits at an early age, it is equally important that we make sure that they are getting plenty of physical exercise. The latter is much easier to come by with toddlers as I haven’t met any that just sit around (mine certainly doesn’t)…but as they get older it’s important to maintain their interest, introduce them to new forms of activities and (especially important to those of us in urban areas), allow them to explore and have much of this fun OUTDOORS. I personally cannot wait to see what my daughter will want to take up – ballet? soccer? karate? volleyball? wrestling??? As a former ballerina (through HS, many moons ago) and more recently in ZogSports playing football, and now solely a runner…I want to make sure I expose her to all forms of exercise and sport to see which of these is most enjoyable to her!
Yet another reason to love Park Slope. There are so many options right here on our doorstep. Starting at just 2 months NY Kids Club offers movement classes (for caregiver & child) through gymnastics and basic sports classes – they offer ballet starting at 19 months or hip hop dancing for the 3+ YO. For a more affordable option, there are of course the Prospect Park and Armory YMCA locations, offering options such as indoor playgrounds, toddler open sports, ballet, tap, creative open movement, tot & me yoga…and of course swimming classes at the Prospect Park location. As your child grows they offer sports programs like basketball, tennis, soccer, track and flag football – from teaching basic skills through learning more advanced techniques.
What looks to be extremely popular now are karate classes (also teaching self discipline, respect for others, focus – a major bonus in addition to the physical aspect). It seems as though there is a martial arts studio on every corner here in South Slope. And, of course, SOCCER! Although the World Cup is over and most of us will return to our baseball, basketball and football games…kids are always and forever in love with this sport. And let’s not forget tennis, swimming and everything else in between!
What I think is important to stress is that for a child (or anyone for that matter), playing a sport goes so far beyond the activity itself. It teaches one to try as hard as they can and to be their best, to enjoy the success of a win and then also learning through a loss. It teaches teamwork and how to play with and help your teammates. To make mistakes and learn from them. To practice and improve.
Here is a helpful link from PSP that lists different activity options in the area along with reviews (for dance, sports classes, martial arts, etc): http://www.parkslopeparents.com/337_Classes-Sports-for-Children-Tweens-Teens.html
With a daughter not even 2 years old, we’ve kept it to music classes (which incorporates some dancing) and then story, song and shimmy & open playgrounds at the YMCA (this Fall: swimming)! For her personality specifically she benefits best from those less rigid/less structured classes. Cannot imagine putting her in a ballet class, she’d probably try opening and closing the door or running around in circles the entire time! The best moments we share are when we go into a big field at Prospect Park and run around, chasing each other and looking at “woof-woofs”. Sometimes that can be the most fun!
As a mom who loves running (with or without her), physical fitness is a priority to me and I think it’s important to lead by example. Much easier said than done, it can feel impossible to have time in a day to put aside for exercise (I have a husband who struggles with this very issue, along with the fact that he’d rather watch a Yankee game in his free time)! When I was working FT last year this meant only on weekends and those 1 or 2 mornings that I’d get up at crack of down during week: not easy. In all seriousness not only is it important to lead by example for our little ones, but by doing that we are strengthening our hearts and helping ensure that we’re the healthiest and strongest that we can be – so we can keep the energy to chase and play with our children today, tomorrow and for years and years to come!
#pediatrician #parkslope #fitness