Young children love to be active and explore their surroundings.
By the time children can walk they should be physically active for about 3 hours a day. This should include a mixture of different activities.
Playing with our children is great fun and allows us to build a special bond with them. At the same time you will be building healthy habits that can last a lifetime.
As children grow they should spend less and less time in buggies or pushchairs, high chairs and bouncers. This is important as it gives them the chance to develop their balance, movement and muscles. It helps them become confident in what their bodies can do.
Letting your baby play on their tummy and roll about on the floor will help them to keep on track with their physical development.
Under 5's should not be strapped into car seats, buggies or seats for longer than an hour at a time without a break to ‘get physical’.
Popping your toddler in the buggy to get to the shops is sometimes necessary, but they will really enjoy it when you let them walk – even if it is just some of the way! Children might like hunting for insects, searching for imaginary tigers, or stamping on all the cracks!
Getting out of the house and being active is also good for the wellbeing of parents and carers. The four walls can ‘close in’ from too much time at home and being outside can help your mood and your patience!
Activities and Games
Getting a balance between busy activities, quiet play and periods of rest and sleep is good for your child's health and wellbeing. It reduces the risk of children becoming overweight. Most children love to get active, especially if it means time playing with you. You don’t need flashy toys or lots of space to get your little ones moving.
Here are some ideas:
Bubbles and Balloons - Babies will reach and roll to get to bubbles. Toddlers love to chase, pop and catch them. If balloons burst be sure to collect all the pieces straight away to avoid a choking hazard.
Make a Den - Use old bed linen or towels and cushions from the sofa.
Roly-Polys / Head-Over-Heels - Your pre-schooler will be proud to show off their forward roll.
Party Games - You could play musical statues, musical bumps or who can stand on one leg longest.
Book Worm Workout - Story time doesn’t have to be still. Get your child jumping up and down whenever they hear a certain word or acting out the story.
Make an ‘Indoor Playground’ - Find things to climb over, wriggle under and squeeze round. Get competitive and use the stopwatch on your phone!
From 0-6 months you can start encouraging your baby to spend 30 minutes a day enjoying tummy time:
If you are concerned about your child’s weight or eating habits and feel you need support, you can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.
If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.
Alternatively you can go to see your GP to discuss concerns.
To speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum below.