At 24/7 Pediatric Care Centers, we agree with the guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics to have children 6 years and older engage in physical activity at least 60 minutes a day, and children younger than 6 to engage in active exercise for about the same period. At all times, however, that activity should be fun and appropriate for your child’s age.
It is not necessary to have your child engage in exercise all in one session. Instead, it’s equally effective to break up exercise sessions into blocks of time, perhaps with a walk or run, a session at a playground, bike riding, or school sport. Just make sure your child’s exercise is performed in a safe and engaging environment, whether indoors or outdoors.
Here are some suggestions for age-appropriate exercise for your children:
Infants – Birth to 12 months
- “Tummy time” – supervised time on the belly while awake to enhance developmental requirements for strength and agility
- Rolling, floor sitting, crawling, reaching and grasping for objects
One to two years old
- A period of outdoor time supervised by an adult
- Walking, jumping games
- Use of riding toys, balls, large blocks or tunnels
Three to five years old
- Free play outdoors supervised by an adult in the yard, at a playground or park
- Bike riding, ball games, hopscotch
- Push and pull toys like doll strollers, toy lawnmowers
- Unstructured activities chosen by your child in a safe environment
Six and Older
- School sports
- Playing catch, ball-kicking and running games, swimming
- Climbing on playground equipment
Above all, your child needs gentle encouragement to be active. The best way to do that is to be a role model for physical activity – plan to do some type of outdoor activity daily or demonstrate your yoga or dancing skills indoors.