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.
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.
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)