A recent study that around a third of pre-school children are overweight or obese. While parents are ultimately responsible for their child’s development, we can do our best to set children on the right track towards healthy eating and regular exercise while they are in our care. Encouraging children in the early years to take steps to prevent obesity and all its later problems can help to establish good habits for life.
As childminders we can help by providing plenty of opportunities for children to be active. We can also act as good role models, encouraging the children to be active by being active ourselves.
One study found that under-fours spend 84% of their waking hours sitting in a buggy, being restrained in a car seat or chair or in front of a screen. Guidelines on physical activity published by the UK health department recommend that pre-school children who are walking should be physically active for three hours a day. (Nursery World 14 July, 2014)
Get the children out of the buggy as often as you can! Even on days when you are stuck in the house, try and find ways to engage the children in active indoor activities. Consider joining The Forest Childcare Association and making a commitment to weekly outdoor outings. In general, several short bursts of activity throughout the day are best as children of preschool age are unlikely to be able to sustain longer periods of activity.
What are the key points I should tell the children?
- Keeping active makes your muscles bigger and your bones stronger
- When you’re active you feel full of life
- When you’re not active you can feel rather flat
- Different people keep active in different ways – parks, running, dancing. Talk about your favourite ways to stay active.
- You own your body and you have to look after it.
Products that can help you to explore staying active
Join the Childminding Best Practice Club and get monthly packs of themed activities emailed to you. As well as art projects with templates, each pack includes a planning guide to help you plan around a theme.
Printable safety and health art projects, activities and colouring pages to help childminders to teach 15 safety and health topics including bereavement, road safety, stranger danger, and sun safety and fire safety. Pack includes a section on making friends with activities and craft projects.
Members of the Forest Childcare Association make a commitment to taking children on weekly outdoor outings year round. It is a mark of quality of your setting, great for keeping children active and a great way to promote your business to parents.