Whether you have a toddler, preschooler or young school-aged child, involve him in a variety of different activities.
Find activities that boost your child's self-esteem and help him share and get along with others.
If you have an infant, you can still involve him in different activities. Every day you can do the following with your infant:
Physical activity provides many benefits to your growing child. It helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints. It also can prevent or delay the development of high blood pressure.
Children ages 2 to 5 years should play actively many times a day. Short bursts of activity add up!
Always make sure that your child has appropriate safety gear when being active.
You don't need to enroll your child in an expensive exercise program. Take her to the playground or on walks, or enroll her in community sports programs.
The first two years of life are critical during the growth and development of your child’s brain. Your child needs positive contact with other children and adults. Too much screen time can have a negative affect on your child’s brain development. This is especially true when your child is learning to talk and play with others.
Screen time includes watching television and using cellphones, video games, computers and other electronic devices.
It may be difficult, but don’t let an electronic device become your babysitter. Plopping your child in front of the TV while you do housework (or rest) isn’t helping him. The connections being built in your child’s brain during his first few years of life are critical. Instead of watching TV, your child should be spending time listening to you read and sing, playing with you, looking at pictures and listening to music.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following for screen time:
Visit healthychildren.org/MediaUsePlan to create a family media use plan.
Once your child starts having screen time, please consider the following guidelines.
Set guidelines for your child and the Internet. Make sure your child understands that people online may not always be who they say they are, doesn’t try to buy something online, doesn’t give out passwords or any personal information, and doesn’t try to meet in-person with someone who chatted with (wrote to) him online.
With your help, the Internet can be a valuable educational resource for your child. Surf the Internet together, set time limits, visit appropriate websites, teach your child not to click on pop-up ads or advertising links, and set limits on whom he e-mails, and watch for spam or other unwanted mail.
Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Guide for the Care of Children: Ages Birth to 5 Years Old, fifth edition. To avoid awkward sentences, instead of referring to your child as "he/she" or "him/her," this guide will alternate between "he" or she" and "him" or "her."
Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts, including the Pediatric Department of Allina Health Coon Rapids Clinic