NHS Start for Life

Did you know that 90% of brain growth happens before the age of five. What you do together can make a huge difference!

The Department for Education (DfE), in partnership with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has launched its Start for Life ‘Little Moments Together’ campaign. The campaign aims to educate parents about the importance of brain development in the first five years of a child’s life, and the crucial role they play, with advice and tips from Start for Life.

The Start for Life Email Programme is a universal offering, for all parents-to-be and parents of children up to four and a half years old. The service provides regular emails to the audience as their child reaches key milestones. Sign up below for emails here!

Visit the DHSC’s website for more information about this campaign.

<strong>Physical Development in Young Children</strong>

The early years of childhood are a time of remarkable physical growth and development. As parents and caregivers, it’s essential to understand the significance of fostering physical development in nursery children. This blog explores the various aspects of physical development and offers practical tips to ensure that your little ones grow strong and healthy.

Understanding Physical Development:

Physical development encompasses the growth and refinement of a child’s motor skills, both fine and gross. From the first tentative steps to mastering the art of holding a pencil, these milestones are crucial in laying the foundation for a child’s overall well-being.

Gross Motor Skills:

  1. Crawling and Walking:
    • Encourage crawling, which helps strengthen core muscles and promotes coordination.
    • Provide safe spaces for walking practice, both indoors and outdoors.
  2. Outdoor Play:
    • Outdoor activities like running, jumping, and climbing contribute to the development of gross motor skills.
    • Access to playgrounds and open spaces allows for exploration and physical exertion.
  3. Coordination Exercises:
    • Engage in activities that enhance hand-eye coordination, such as catching and throwing a ball.
    • Incorporate games that involve balance, like walking on a line or hopping on one foot.

Fine Motor Skills:

  1. Drawing and Scribbling:
    • Provide a variety of writing tools and paper for drawing and scribbling.
    • Encourage the use of both hands for activities like painting and crafting.
  2. Manipulating Objects:
    • Offer activities that involve manipulating small objects, like building with blocks or threading beads.
    • Introduce age-appropriate puzzles to develop problem-solving skills.
  3. Self-Help Skills:
    • Encourage independence in self-help skills, such as dressing and feeding.
    • Use utensils and engage in activities that refine hand and finger movements.

Promoting Physical Health:

  1. Balanced Nutrition:
    • Ensure that your child receives a balanced and nutritious diet to support overall growth and development.
    • Encourage healthy eating habits from an early age.
  2. Adequate Sleep:
    • Establish a consistent bedtime routine to ensure that your child gets the recommended amount of sleep.
    • Quality sleep is crucial for physical and cognitive development.
  3. Regular Health Check-ups:
    • Schedule regular health check-ups to monitor growth and address any concerns promptly.
    • Stay updated on vaccinations and follow the guidance of healthcare professionals.

Practical Tips for Parents and Caregivers:

  1. Create Active Play Spaces:
    • Designate areas for active play within your home or utilise local parks and playgrounds.
    • Rotate toys to keep playtime engaging and varied.
  2. Limit Screen Time:
    • Minimise screen time and encourage physical play and exploration.
    • Choose age-appropriate educational programs if screen time is incorporated.
  3. Join Active Play:
    • Engage in physical activities with your child, fostering a sense of fun and bonding.
    • Family walks, bike rides, or simple games in the garden enhance physical activity.
  4. Celebrate Milestones:
    • Acknowledge and celebrate physical milestones, whether it’s the first steps or mastering a new physical skill.
    • Positive reinforcement boosts confidence and motivation.

Regularly observe your child’s physical development and discuss any concerns with healthcare professionals or nursery staff. Open communication ensures that any developmental challenges are addressed promptly.

Physical development is a cornerstone of a child’s overall well-being, laying the foundation for a healthy and active life. By providing opportunities for both gross and fine motor skill development, promoting physical health, and actively engaging in your child’s play and activities, you contribute to their growth into strong, confident individuals.