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How To Use This Booklet

For young children, physical activity is natural. Kids in Action is based on the premise that children love to move. Little ones are delighted to have your company and your undivided attention. Playing actively with them will give pleasure to both of you. You do not need to be an expert on movement to promote a child's daily physical activity, and no special equipment is necessary to make meaningful activity part of children's lives.
Being active from an early age will help children become physically fit later in life. Health-related fitness involves cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition. This booklet incorporates these elements into activities for children in three age groups: infants (birth to 18 months), toddlers (18 to 36 months), and preschoolers (3 to 5 years).

Small children need several hours of unstructured movement every day. They should never be inactive for more than 60 minutes. Toddlers need at least 30 minutes of structured activities, such as those presented in this booklet, and preschoolers need at least 60 minutes of structured activities. You can break all activity periods into smaller units of ten or fifteen minutes.

To help your child reach individual activity goals, choose several of the activities in Kids in Action each day. Play at each one for 10 or 15 minutes. Ideally, you would have at least two or three activity sessions a day. When playing with your child, choose only activities for which he is developmentally ready. For example, don't play Creepy/Crawly until your baby is able to crawl and creep successfully. For activities that call for your infant to be seated before she can sit up unassisted, prop her up against a stable object such as the front of a sofa, or surround her with firm pillows. Most babies can sit assisted by 4 months of age and unassisted by age 9 months.

As you perform activities in Kids in Action with your child, remember that the most important thing you can do to promote an active lifestyle is to be a role model. So have fun, and let the suggestions here inspire your own creative movement ideas.

Remember, in addition to structured movements such as those shown here, young children should also participate in at least 60 minutes a day of unstructured physical activity. The more the better! So be sure they have the time, space, and opportunity to crawl, walk, run, jump, climb and play actively!

A Few Basic Tips on Healthy Eating

How to Use This Booklet

Daily physical activity is only one part of the equation for optimal health and well-being for both you and your children. It must be coupled with healthful eating. This important food-fitness connection is what it's all about. By adopting an active lifestyle and choosing to eat healthful foods, you encourage children to follow your good example.

The first step toward helping your child eat a healthier diet is making a variety of nutritious foods readily available for snacks and at mealtime, including plenty of fruits and vegetables. Follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. Then your child can choose what he or she likes best.

Make family meals a priority beginning with the first meal of the day. Research shows that children who eat breakfast are better nourished than breakfast-skippers and are more likely to meet their daily need for certain essential vitamins and minerals. Eating breakfast improves alertness and helps children feel like getting up and moving. To help make breakfast a daily habit, keep an assortment of healthy foods available. Good choices include whole grain cereals, non-fat or low-fat milk, yogurt, and fruit.

WebMD Public Information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

 The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is providing this content as part of a pilot project to improve communication with the public. HHS does not endorse commercial products or services advertised on this website or receive any revenue fr 

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