Involving Families in Children’s Physical Development
Topic 2 Page 17
Families generally have the largest impact upon young children’s development, it is critical that they are actively involved in program efforts that promote their children’s wellness, active lifestyles, and overall physical development. Parents can foster healthy growth by providing opportunities to practice new skills as well as promoting healthy eating habits during these important childhood years.
Children benefit from loving relationships with family members and caregivers who are encouraging, responsive, and available to share in their learning experiences. Parents are a child’s greatest teacher because they understand a child the very best and can create opportunities for learning through play. Some of the best interactions occur during family activities such as doing laundry, walking the dog, preparing meals together, playing games, or creating art projects with siblings. Organized and spontaneous activities can provide fun for the entire family and may be shared with family and friends
Parents will be able to help their young children be more active if you let them know:
- the benefits of movement for infants and physical activity for young children – and for themselves.
- your policy on physical activity
- about events in the local community, including places of local interest and family activities they and their children can do there
- information about the daily physical activities you provide how well their child is doing in physical activities, and what they enjoy (or don’t enjoy)
- what their child has liked during the day, so they can do similar activities elsewhere
Establishing and maintaining collaborative relationships between home and school promotes children’s optimum learning and growth. When it comes to families of children with special learning needs, communication with families is essential. As an early childhood professional, you should gather as much information as possible about the child and their particular needs, as well as accommodations that the family has used in the past. You should also invite the families to share concerns or ask questions.
We all need to establish and maintain healthy habits. Family members can set a great example for the children and the rest of the adults in their families by promoting healthy environments at home. Healthy environments include engaging the family in activities that promote well-being; Planning balanced and nutritious meals, shopping for ingredients, cooking together, walking and exercising together, playing together, and keeping each other motivated and committed to making healthy choices and keeping an active lifestyle.