Last February 2002, the American National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE)—released its first ever physical activity guidelines for infants and toddlers. Excerpts from the document:
…Confining babies and young children to strollers, play pens, car and infant seats for hours at a time may delay development such as rolling over, crawling, walking and even cognitive development. Certainly such restrictions can begin the path to sedentary preferences and childhood obesity.
… “Adopting a physically active lifestyle early in life increases the likelihood that infants and young children will learn to move skillfully,” said Dr. Jane Clark, professor and chair of the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Maryland, chaired the NASPE Early Childhood Physical Activity Guidelines Task Force.
Guidelines for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Guideline 1. Toddlers should accumulate at least 30 minutes daily of structured physical activity; preschoolers at least 60 minutes.
Guideline 2. Toddlers and preschoolers should engage in at least 60 minutes and up to several hours per day of daily, unstructured physical activity and should not be sedentary for more than 60 minutes at a time except when sleeping.
Guideline 3. Toddlers should develop movement skills that are building blocks for more complex movement tasks; preschoolers should develop competence in movement skills that are building blocks for more complex movement tasks.