Under fives who are physically active for at least three hours a day will adopt the activity habit and become healthy and fit adults, Tuffkid Nursery staff learnt at a training session.
Three hours a day of physical activity for the under 5s is guidance from the UK’s Chief Medical Office. But few children – only nine per cent – move around this much, said Kim Lambden of the Health Education Partnership which is working with Tuffkid to ensure pupils have a healthy start in life.
Tuffkid is in the Mayor of London’s Healthy Early Years London (HEYL) project and works with parents to support healthy growth and development.
Kim explained that activity at this young age is crucial for optimum development. Children need to develop their muscles, shoulders and motor skills for writing and to learn hand-to-eye coordination.
Parents and carers often increase the sedentary behaviour of children by encouraging their charges to sit in buggies, baby walkers and car seats.
“Safety is always a prime concern but children should not be restricted unnecessarily or for too long,” Kim said.
Young children need to follow their own interests when it comes to movement but there are certain activities to encourage. These include good exercise – running, jumping, hopping or playing on boxes, adventurous and risky play where children learn to be challenged, take risks and deal with anger and fear, and expressive play like floor gymnastics when children learn dance movements and body coordination.
“Outside environments need to be made attractive to children and they need to develop an ‘I can do’ attitude to activity,” she added.<< Back