A child’s growth flows as a continuous process, a gradual move from one stage of development to another. For example, one must walk before they can run. Physical development refers to a child’s ability to move, coordinate and control their body. This development can be broken up into two categories: gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Gross motor skills refer to controlling large parts of the body; arms and legs. Fine motor skills refer to coordinating small body parts, hands and fingers. Parents can foster healthy growth by providing opportunities to practice new skills as well as promoting healthy eating habits during these important childhood years.
Parents are very busy managing different needs of the people around them; specifically the needs of their children. The activities mentioned below are simple, inexpensive, and can be adapted for various family members.
In regards to healthy nutrition, the Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board, and Board on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention all suggest:
Parents can serve as role models by introducing new foods in a persistent but non-coercive fashion. Studies show that repeated exposure is most critical during the early years of life and that it can take five to ten exposures to a new food before a child will accept it. In addition, parents should consider smaller portion sizes, encourage children to stop eating when they feel full, and avoid using food as a reward. Parents also should stock their homes with healthy products, particularly fruits and vegetables, to encourage their children to choose them as snacks.
Remember when providing these activities or healthy foods, it is vital that they be presented in a positive, cheerful way. The key is to promote a healthy view on physical development for a child.