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Let's get moving to music: Feel-good fitness for your toddler

16 JANUARY 2013

There is nothing like a toddler to keep you on your toes! Their boundless energy means that parents often struggle to find activities that are both stimulating and energetic.

And the British weather doesn't help matters; the cold and rain prevents many of us from spending the day at local parks and outdoor areas where children can run around and let off steam.

Amanda Hughes is the founder of Disco Duck which offers a pre-school dance experience that helps build self-esteem, coordination, concentration, and above all a sense of fun. She speaks to HELLO! Online about the importance of getting children active.

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"Children need 30 minutes of structured activity a day and one hour of unstructured activities – in fact, it is recommended that children should be encouraged to be active constantly throughout the day, as this promotes better sleep, reduces worry, improves co-ordination and flexibility, and builds confidence to name but a few.

"The most important thing is that these activities need to be fun! And the most beneficial activities are those we can take part in alongside our children to help build their confidence.

"Dance is a great example of a fun activity children can do to keep fit. It encourages the use of the whole body, from bending, stretching and reaching, to the beat of music they really enjoy.

When we dance, we are lost in that moment in time and the finished result? Feeling well, happy and fitter than before!

"My favourite memories with my daughter are dancing to pop songs in the kitchen during the cold winter months – there are many movements and actions you can do with your child to help stimulate them, allowing them to mirror your actions and keeping them truly entertained.

 

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"Children as young as 12 months will move their bodies naturally to regular reoccurring beats. Watch your child’s reaction when you play a song that they enjoy and see how naturally and rhythmically that they move.

"Encourage actions like clapping and shaking the hands side to side, before progressing to “Hip Rocks” or wiggles with hands on hips. You can then move on to locomotive actions that are within your child's capabilities, such as marching, jumping and even hopping oand skipping for older ones.

"You can also try and introduce props like as hula hoops, or have fun making patterns with the ribbons while you dance.

"Keep their attention by moving Nursery Rhymes or other songs which have specified actions - the kinds of songs which suggest movement are inspiring to children and keep their attention for longer.

"But most importantly, just have fun with dance - it is a great way to keep both yourself and your toddler fit healthy and happy!"


Amanda Hughes is the founder of Disco Duck and an ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing) Fellow and Examiner www.disco-duck.co.uk

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