Let’s Get Physical

Yes, the immortal words of Olivia Newton John live on, but for your child this can mean a variety of things and a whole new world of concern. We’re not talking about the birds and the bees. (We don’t want to deal with that any more than you do.) No, this month we will be discussing exercise and aggression, what’s healthy, what’s not, and what you can do when issues arise.


Spring has finally sprung, which means there’s a whole array of activities that are once again open for you and your child to enjoy. This includes playgrounds, parks, beaches, hiking, organized sports, and even the impromptu game of tag. If you’ve been stuck indoors waiting for the cold to pass, it’s time to get out there.

Children of every age need at least an hour of physical activity a day, and it’s not just for healthy bones and muscles, it’s for a healthy mind. Children who exercise daily, whether they know it or not, are less stressed, feel better about themselves, perform better in school, and even sleep better at night. These factors combined gives children a more positive outlook on life that will help bolster them during those difficult teenage years, and as we all know, the ones beyond as well.

As far as the physical benefits, exercise certainly helps children maintain a healthy weight, low blood pressure and low cholesterol levels. But, if you are concerned that your child may already be overweight or obese, don’t despair. There are many
things that can be done, and the most effective strategies start with assessment. Feel free to contact us with your concerns or to make an appointment. In the meantime, just going out for a family walk after dinner can put you on the right path toward a healthy level of physical activity for you and your tot.

Hitting and Aggressive Behavior

If your toddler has recently entered the phase when a swat accompanies a “no” or even a smile, take comfort. Your child is not evil, your child is a child. Toddlers are naturally aggressive, and just like many of the behaviors popping up at this time,
they can be reinforced by positive or negative feedback.

Though hitting may seem to be an escalation in negative behavior, it is not coming from an increasingly negative place or emotion. For this reason, we recommend treating it like you would any other bad habit. If it’s a light tap, let it go. If it’s a
resounding smack, a time out is in order. Put your toddler in their crib or other safe place and let them vent their frustrations for a couple minutes. Lengthy explanations on the inappropriate nature of the incident, or asking for an apology is fruitless, as your child, most likely, did not mean you any harm.

If hitting and other forms of aggression persist well into the third year of age and beyond, you may need to employ more firm disciplinary tactics, including longer and more frequent time outs. For additional information on recommended techniques you can refer to our newsletter on discipline, or give us a call. It takes a village after all, and you won’t be the first.

The Wrap Up

As you have already observed, your child is not only accumulating feet and inches, but complexity as well. The exploration of physicality and physical expression is an important part in their journey, and you have an integral role in guiding them toward the best outlets and coping mechanisms. So, now that it’s spring, take the bull by the horns, grab your tot, hit the trail, and get physical. You just might find yourself in a better place as well.