Strategies to Support Children’s Physical Development

Children develop physically at different times. Some are ahead of the curve, and others are late bloomers. Although it is important to accept wherever a child is in his growth cycle, parents can employ some strategies to support their children’s physical growth and development while their kids are young.

Healthy Eating Habits

Proper nutrition provides children the energy necessary for them to grow and to develop into healthy adults. It is important for parents to serve as positive nutrition role models by eating healthy meals as well. Family meals offer you regular opportunities to set an example for your children. Limit the amount of salt, fat and sugar you use to cook your food. Focus on providing your children lean protein, fresh fruits and vegetables. Try to eat at least five meals per week together as a family. Children who grow up in families in which people watch what they eat and dine together tend to develop well in their youth (by growing tall and strong and not suffering from serious or frequent illnesses) and carry these healthy dietary habits into adulthood.

Encourage the Family to Play Outdoors

Children learn from what their caregivers do more than from what these people say. Parents must thus be willing behave as they ask their children to act. To encourage children to play outside and to develop strong, healthy muscles, it is important for you to play outside with them. Joining your children for outdoor recreation communicates to them that physical activity is enjoyable and encourages them to make physical activity a regular, habitual event. Take family hikes through the woods, swim in the local pool together or go ice skating as a family. This shared exercise time is also an opportunity to nourish your family connections.

Balance and Coordination Development Strategies

Kids achieve balance and coordination at different speeds. Encourage your children to develop their balance and coordination by signing them up for such activities as horseback riding, yoga, martial arts and gymnastics. On a simpler level, play catch, skip hopscotch and jump rope with them.

Gross Motor Skill Development Strategies

Gross motor skills help children move their entire bodies from one place to another. Motivate babies to develop this ability by putting toys out of their reach, but within their view, to encourage crawling. Encourage toddlers to start walking as soon as possible. Persuade older children to sharpen their gross motor skills by having them run around playgrounds, walk distances or climb objects.

About this Author

Ripa Ajmera has been writing for six years. She has written for ABCNews.com, General Nutrition Center (GNC), TCW Finance, Alliance for a New Humanity, Washington Square News and more. She was a Catherine B. Reynolds Scholar from 2006-2008 and graduated from New York University Stern School of Business with an Honors degree in Marketing.