It’s never too early to start thinking about physical literacy. In fact, it’s extremely important to encourage various movement skills during the developmental months! Practicing different skills and movements now will help lay the foundation for your child’s physical future.
While your baby will naturally develop movement skills in his or her first year, there are things you can do to encourage, support and motivate:
1) Set the Stage
Give your baby plenty of opportunity to work on his physicality by placing him on flat, even, comfortable and open surfaces. This will ensure he can squirm, roll, wiggle and play without knocking into walls or objects.
Once your baby starts rolling by himself, from his back to his stomach, or vice versa (or somewhere in between!), your role is to let him practice while ensuring he is comfortable. Make any hazards or sharp corners have been removed or covered.
2) Clear the Way
You probably already baby-proofed your house before your bundle of joy arrived. But you’ll find that baby-proofing is an ongoing exercise as your baby grows and develops. As he begins to roll and crawl, grasp, and eventually cruise, toddle, and walk, you may discover a whole new level of baby-proofing must occur. Always be on the lookout for new hazards as your baby becomes stronger and more skillful with his arms and legs! This process will put you at ease and allow him the space to explore his physicality.
3) Play and Encourage
To encourage physical awareness as your baby becomes more and more mobile, be sure his path is clear of objects like throw pillows or furniture, laundry baskets or shoes, etc. Stand or crouch at different distances in front of him and encourage him to come to you. Or, stand behind him for support. Also, use fun, soft and colourful toys to encourage him to reach out, grab, or move towards them.
4) Start Keeping Track of Baby’s Physical Play
Once your baby is officially part of the “toddler” classification, it’s recommended that he or she get 30 minutes a day of physical activity. Most children are naturally active, excited and energetic so that 30 minutes won’t be a problem. But it’s a great idea to get into the habit early of tracking how many minutes a day your children are playing actively – this will benefit you and them over the long-run. (Note: once they turn pre-school age, the recommended physical activity per day increases to 60 minutes!)
Bring your Baby to the TLC! All babies have the potential to be “water babies”! Sign baby up for Parented Swim Classes as early as four months and up to 36 months to get your child comfortable using his or her body in the water. Our Starfish (4-12 months), Duck (12-24 months) and Sea Turtle (24 – 36 months) classes are the perfect way to introduce your little one to early swim skills in a fun, comfortable environment.
Bring Your Toddlers Too! Once your child has reached his second year, it’s time for the TLC’s Explore & Play Classes! These are all designed to encourage activity among children ages two to five years. Your toddler can try twisting and shaking his sillies out in Twisting Toddlers (2 to 3 years) or explore the world of sports in Mini Sportster (ages 3 to 5). Or she can become a “Gym Bug”, “Busy Bee” or “Little Learner”. Learn more here!
*This post is sponsored by the TransAlta Tri-Leisure Centre