Does a lack of activity delay mobility in children?
Daily physical activity matters from birth. Even in their earliest days, infants and toddlers are already learning through their experiences and developing the gross motor, emotional and cognitive skills they’ll use throughout life.
Early activity matters.
As children grow, regular physical activity continues to hone gross motor skills and large muscle development. But that’s just the beginning. Children’s fitness, cardiovascular health, bone development, sleep quality, weight, and sense of wellbeing are tied to physical activity. That’s why it’s important to support physical activity and movement even in the earliest days.
What do active infants do?
As they mature, infants become aware of movement and more capable of controlling their own. Active infants:
- Move and lift their head
- Kick and reach during tummy time
- Reach for objects or grasp them
- Play or roll on the floor
- Crawl around
What can parents and caregivers do?
Early Days: When infants are awake, make sure their environment is as nonrestrictive as possible. Allow plenty of supervised tummy time and increase the time as baby grows. Avoid using high chairs other than at meals or snack time. Limit baby’s time in a swing, bouncer and any equipment that constrains movement. Do not put baby in a swing or car seat to sleep.
Some Movement Control: When babies are stronger and sitting up well, try placing him or her on your lap, looking at you. A young, mobile baby needs a loving adult to support his torso when he is experimenting with walking. An older mobile baby who is more confident in her abilities to take steps can be supported to walk by holding her hands in yours and encouraging standing by guiding her into a standing position. Encourage baby’s creeping and crawling and keep your floors clean and safe for exploration.
Beginning Walker: Provide lots of opportunities for baby to walk and don’t rely on restrictive equipment such as walkers. Encourage barefoot walking inside to support the development of foot muscles.
Learn more about child development at abcquality.org.
ABC Quality is a go-to resource where South Carolina parents can find information about quality child care and child development. ABC Quality is a voluntary rating and improvement program that helps South Carolina parents find high quality child care providers. It is administered by the Division of Early Care and Education of the SC Department of Social Services.
By ABC Quality Team on February 7, 2017