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Promoting Healthy Physical Development

As educators and caregivers, you are in a unique position to help encourage the incorporation of physical activity in children’s daily lives by:

  • Incorporate physical activities into their daily schedule

  • Limit screen time/sedentary time at home

  • Play outside with your children

  • Offer your child a variety of different options for activities that allow them to move (e.g. Soccer, gymnastics, yoga, etc.)

As children grow, there are lots of things rapidly changing in their little bodies! The two types of physical development in infancy include:

Gross Motor Development

Learning to use and control the large muscles in their arms and legs (e.g. kicking, throwing, jumping, etc.)

Fine Motor Development

As children begin using their hands to explore, the small muscles begin to develop in their hands and fingers. They soon develop the ability to pick things up and put them back down. Typically with infants, you will start to see your child using a palmar grasp, where they use their entire hand to pick up an object. This will then lead to them developing the ability to use the pincer grasp, which involves them picking up small objects with their thumb and index finger with precision.

Once children enter toddlerhood, their rapid rate of growing begins to slow down. Typically, boys tend to grow faster than girls and you can begin to see them losing their baby fat and thinning out. Below are some milestones to look out for:

6 Months: Can hold head up

9 Months: Can get into sitting position, crawl

12 Months: May begin cruising, walking, or standing without support

18 Months: Walk confidently, use a spoon, drink from an open cup

24 Months: Walking is stable, can run without falling, kicking/throwing a ball, and begins scribbling

3 years: Walk up/downstairs with alternating feet, pedal a bike

4 Years: Can pour and cut

5 Years: Hop, skip, balance on one foot for an extended period of time, can do a somersault.

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