In this age of helicopter parenting, many parents attempt to keep their children from being exposed to many of the mild hazards that lurk behind day-to-day activities. While this may be superficially satisfying for a concerned parent, it may not be the best course of action for your child. In fact, with a little guidance, allowing your toddler to actively participate in playtime, to make a mess, while maintaining proper nutrition, is essential to their development.
Contrary to what you might believe, your toddler can benefit from playtime, dirt, and nutrition. These three fundamentals ultimately facilitate the development of a healthy gut biome and the overall well-being of your child. Being outside more and playing in the dirt is healthy for your child in so many ways from their gut health to their mental health and it can also lead to better social skills and confidence.
Let’s take a closer look at just a few ways that a toddler can benefit from playtime, dirt and nutrition.
The Benefits Of Playtime (And Dirt!)
Playtime is highly important for proper toddler development for your child. Being especially open-minded, toddlers are sure to benefit from the sensory cornucopia available in the natural world. Through play and exploration, especially out of doors, toddlers can learn about themselves, their peers, and the greater world. Mental development is strongly boosted through this exposure. Outdoor play can expand a toddler’s aptitude for creativity and through exploration, they can push their personal limits to discover new things.
Being active can also help toddlers to burn off any extra calories they may have consumed, although it is usually more important to ensure that they are receiving enough in the way of calories. Activities can also make children calmer and happier in temperament. Ample vitamin D intake from sunlight exposure can also boost your toddler’s mood but also assists in the absorption of calcium, which is absolutely essential for rapidly growing toddlers!
Dirt, in the sense of playing outdoors and making a big mess, is also beneficial for your child’s immune system. Exposure to diverse bacteria and microbes will ensure that your child is able to fight more serious pathogens later in life. Generally speaking, this exposure will also allow your child to have a more robust immune system when facing more common cold and flu bugs.
Nutrition Is Vital
Medical and scientific awareness is currently expanding on the topic of how our gut biome influences human cognition, immune function, and even moods. This is no different for your toddler! Exposure to nature’s variety of microbes is essential to the healthy development of your toddler. This exposure will ultimately build resilience in your child, as mentioned above.
Proper nutrition for toddlers can certainly boost their development in a positive way; indeed, this is one of the fundamental aspects of your child’s well-being. The basic nutritional principles are the same for toddlers and adults alike, though your child may need extra vitamins and minerals to facilitate all of the growth it is going through. You also need to take responsibility for your child’s nutrition, as they are not fully competent in this regard. Ensure that your toddler receives an adequate level of macronutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, as well as adequate levels of essential vitamins and minerals. These include calcium, iron, fibre, and vitamins A, C, and D.
If you have concerns or fear that your toddler may not be receiving proper nutrition, or even if you plan on making significant changes to your child’s diet, make sure to consult with your family physician.
Lead By Example
To ensure that your child grows up healthy it is important for you as a parent to lead by example. Be sure to take your own nutrition seriously and explore new things whenever possible and set a great example for the rest of your family. If you make an effort, your toddler will notice your good habits and hopefully follow your example as they continue to grow and develop. Setting the right habits in place from the beginning is one sure-fire way to ensure that your toddler is adequately prepared for the road ahead.