3 Mommy and Me Exercises To Do With Your Toddler

3 Mommy and Me Exercises To Do With Your Toddler: Strength Building For You.  Cognitive Development For Your Little One!

As a pre & postnatal corrective exercise specialist, I work with pregnant and new moms to help them prevent and eliminate aches and pains so they can thrive in motherhood. One of the best parts of my job is when babies and toddlers join in on our sessions.  My previous career as a professional dancer and early childhood dance educator means I have lots of “tricks” up my sleeve when it comes to getting your little one moving and grooving along with you.

Here are 3 exercises to do with your child (best for ages 2-5) that strengthen your core and pelvic floor, while simultaneously enhancing their gross motor skills and cognitive brain development. 

Quadruped Core Stabilization/ Bridges and Tunnels

As a pre & postnatal corrective exercise specialist, I work with pregnant and new moms to help them prevent and eliminate aches and pains so they canthrive in motherhood. One of the best parts of my job is when babies and toddlers join in on our sessions.  My previous career as a professional dancer and early childhood dance educator means I have lots of “tricks” up my sleeve when it comes to getting your little one moving and grooving along with you.

Here are 3 exercises to do with your child (best for ages 2-5) that strengthen your core and pelvic floor, while simultaneously enhancing their gross motor skills and cognitive brain development.

Quadruped Core Stabilization/ Bridges and Tunnels

How to: Start from an all 4’s “quadruped” position, turning your body into a climbing bridge and tunnel for your little one to explore.

Inhale- fill your ribs and belly with breath. 

Exhale- engage your pelvic floor (or kegel) and imagine you are wrapping or corseting the muscles of your core from your pubic bone all the way to the bottom of your rib cage. 

Inhale- release that activation as you fill your ribs and belly again.

Exhale- engage your core and pelvic floor the same as before and practice lifting one palm and the opposite knee a few inches off the ground.  The goal is to do this without shifting your weight...and providing a sturdy base for your climbing little one! 

Benefit for You: As you exhale and engage your core, you are strengthening the muscles of your inner core unit (diaphragm, TVA and pelvic floor) which increases spinal and pelvic stability and is the key to eliminating the most common aches and pains during pregnancy and motherhood.  

Benefit for Kids: Exploration of positive and negative space, development of spatial awareness, building physical strength and gross motor skills.

Fireflies and Inchworms

How to:Grab yourself a pair of 2-5lb weights and start standing tall, legs a little wider than hip width apart.

  • Reach your arms across your body to all 4 diagonals, high (catch a firefly) and low (pull an inchworm), as you shift your weight, rotate your trunk and feel for your glutes (not rounding from your lower back) when reaching for the low diagonals. 

Benefit for You: The added light weight helps you build muscle mass while utilizing your full range of motion and lessening the risk of injury.  The trunk rotations strengthen your core and the lower body squats strengthen your glutes. 

Benefit for Kids:Crossing the body’s midline is a vital development skill for children to help prepare them for tasks like reading, writing, planning, sequencing and body awareness.  You’ll notice younger kids have a much harder time with this and will try to use the hand on the same side as their reach.  Don’t panic if they can’t master it yet!  Just keep encouraging them to twist and reach across their bodies for those fireflies and inchworms.

Awake & Sleeping Animals

How to:Ask your child to choose an animal. Dynamically act out their animal for 30 seconds, then have your animals lie down and “sleep” for 30 seconds.  Repeat with as many animals as you can think of until you are both exhausted, taking a 30 second nap between each one. 

Benefit for You and your Kids: Strengthening your cardiovascular system, increased circulation, regulation of the Sympathetic (fight or flight mode) and Parasympathetic Nervous System (rest and recovery mode).

 

Joanie Johnson is a mom, personal trainer, pre/postnatal corrective exercise specialist and diastasis & core consultant, coaching pregnant and postpartum bodies to thrive during motherhood. You can find her live classes atjoaniejohnson.com! For more fitness tips and general motherhood antics follow her on instagram@joaniejohnson_

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