A mother holds her baby in her arms in the woods.

How to give your baby an active start

Does it seem odd to be thinking about raising an active child when your baby hasn’t been born yet or can’t even roll over on her own? As a new parent or new parent-to-be there’s a lot to think about and physical activity might seem like something that you can postpone focusing on about for at least a few more years.

In the first year of life, your infant learns simple motor coordination skills that are essential to all aspects of her cognitive, emotional, and physical development. She can’t be rushed but she can be encouraged in ways that will make being active easier when she gets a bit older.

It’s a lot like setting the stage for a love of language and reading. Intuitively, many parents talk to our babies, sing nursery rhymes and songs, and read stories to them, even when they are too young to make sense of what we’re saying (sometimes we do this even while they’re still in the womb!). These things help children develop language skills and help them to recognize sounds and letters, then learn to talk, and someday to read. It’s exactly the same with simple physical play and movement with your baby. You’re laying the foundation for your child to develop physical literacy as she grows by promoting your baby’s brain networking and sensory awareness.

So how can you give your child the best start? Begin by reading these short articles from our experts and role models and come back often as we’ll continually update this page with information relevant to you and your active little one.

From our experts:

From our role models:

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