Active Kids are Happy Kids

For babies aged 0-18 months, physical activity is all about exploration, experiencing simple movements and learning about the world.

Physical activity helps babies to be healthy, alert, relaxed and happy.
Benefits of Physical activity for 0-18 month olds:

  • Stimulates their senses
  • Makes it easier to soothe
  • Develops better sleep habits
  • Improves their digestion
  • Allows them to develop motor skills and experience more as they can interact with the world more autonomously
  • Builds connections in the brain which help with development
  • Sets the stage for future movement skills

Skills to Develop:

Here are some physical skills you can help your baby with, during the first year

  • 0-3 months: neck control, reaching, grabbing, arm and leg movements, beginning with tummy time. The sensory cognitive cards are designed specifically to help with this.
    • 4-6 months: rolling over, sitting, pushing with their legs, tummy time
    • 7-9 months: moving forward (crawling) moving objects between hands, standing
    • 10-12 months: cruising (walking while holding onto furniture), playing with balls
    • 12-18 months: walking up stairs, pushing and pulling objects while walking forward

    Tips To help your baby develop their physical skills, you can:

    • Provide lots of opportunities for your baby to be active every day, including inside and outside.
    • Limit the amount of time your baby spends in the stroller, car seat or infant carrier.
    • Make sure you baby is playing with age-appropriate toys and that play areas are safe for your baby.
    • Make sure your baby is wearing proper footwear if walking, climbing or jumping.
    Activity Ideas
    Here are some activity examples to get your baby moving:
    • Move an object side-to-side to encourage your baby to follow the object by moving their head.
    • Gently move and stretch your baby’s arms and legs.
    • Provide lots of opportunities for tummy time.
    • Place a toy in front or to the side of your baby and encourage your baby to reach for it.
    • Have your baby kick and splash while closely supervised in the tub.
    • Play music and encourage your baby to dance.
    • Roll a ball to your baby.
    • Set-up cushions or obstacles for your baby to climb over.

    References:
    Active for Life (http://activeforlife.com/)
    Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (http://csep.ca)
    Kids At Play, Australian Capital Territory Government (http://health.act.gov.au/healthy-living/kids-play)
    Nipissing District Developmental Screening (www.ndds.ca)

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