The NASPE (National Association for Sport and Physical Education) Guidelines for movement for children are designed to support the health and well-being of children throughout the United States. The guidelines state that “All children from birth to age 5 should engage in daily physical activity that promotes movement skillfulness and foundations of health-related fitness.” Here’s what that really means.
Infants – “Caregivers should place infants in settings that encourage and stimulate movement experiences and active play for short periods of time several times each day.” “You can encourage your infant to be active from the time he or she is born.” For example, offer your infant small challenges like placing a toy just outside their reach, so that the infant crosses the midline of the body to reach and grasp.
Toddlers – “Toddlers should engage in a total of at least 30 minutes of structured physical activity each day.” PLUS at least 60 minutes – and up to several hours – per day of unstructured physical activity and “should NOT be sedentary for more than 60 minutes at a time, except when sleeping.” Encourage moving by modeling and example. Try out simple, safe movements together from baby yoga programs.
Preschoolers – “Preschoolers should accumulate at least 60 minutes of structured physical activity each day.” PLUS at least 60 minutes – and up to several hours – of unstructured activity each day and “should NOT be sedentary for more than 60 minutes at a time, except when sleeping.” Preschoolers love to move. Doing simple, cross-lateral movements like cross crawls before any learning activity helps switch on the brain, encourage focus, and just makes kids feel happy!
When you encourage movement, along with great nutrition and lots of love, you give your baby an important opportunity to avoid ADHD-like behaviors and other challenges later on. We can’t control the ups and downs of life, but movement promotes brain cell development and enhancement, and has been shown to even help children better handle life’s difficulties.
Sadly, most of our schools and day care centers are not meeting the NASPE movement guidelines. And our children’s brains, intelligence, and well-being suffer.
I started the Children’s Brain Body Balancing program to bring simple movements right into the classroom and day care center and give parents tools to help their children focus, feel calm and learn to self-regulate. For more information, check my website – solutionswithoutdrugs.com.