Busy Bodies

Fitness expert Renée Vincent advises on the importance of movement for toddlers and how, as parents, we can serve as their first coaches.

Development happens dramatically in the first 1000 days. During this time a child transitions from being a newborn with only basic survival reflexes to a fully-fledged preschooler who can run, jump and climb. As a physiotherapist, I observe and analyse movement daily but nothing prepared me for the joy and wonder I have experienced watching my son grow. I found it fascinating to see from birth his innate drive to move, to repeat things over and over, to seek new experiences, to take risks and to stretch his boundaries.

In this article I’ll share some key concepts about movement in the first 1000 days to help inspire you on your parenting journey. Not being an expert in child development, I have drawn on the amazing work of Gill Connell and Cheryl McCarthy, who created two fantastic resources for parents: A Moving Child Is a Learning Child: How the Body Teaches the Brain to Think and their Smart Steps programme. You can access these resources at the public library and at movingsmart.co.nz. Although we’re focussing here on the 16- to 24-month age range, Moving Smart’s resources are relevant and applicable right from the start of a child’s life.

Click here to download and read the article (pdf)