Akriti Maurya
By Akriti Maurya
Child Development Counsellor, Mental Health Counsellor

Childhood is a crucial period of growth and development, and physical activity plays a vital role in this process. Engaging in regular physical activity promotes overall health and wellbeing, improves cognitive function, and enhances academic performance. Unfortunately, many children today are leading sedentary lifestyles, which can lead to negative health outcomes and hinder their development. As a parent or caregiver, it's crucial to encourage and facilitate physical activity in children to support their optimal development.

The Benefits of Physical Activity for Child Development

Regular physical activity offers numerous benefits for children, including:

Improved Physical Health

Engaging in regular physical activity helps to build strong muscles and bones, maintain a healthy weight, and reduce the risk of chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Enhanced Cognitive Function

Physical activity promotes blood flow and oxygen to the brain, improving memory, attention, and other cognitive functions.

Improved Academic Performance

Research shows that physical activity can enhance academic performance, particularly in areas such as mathematics, reading, and writing.

Improved Emotional Wellbeing

Physical activity can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression in children, promoting positive emotional wellbeing.

Strategies for Encouraging Physical Activity in Children

As a parent or caregiver, there are several strategies you can use to encourage physical activity in children. These include:

Setting a Good Example

Children learn by example, so it's essential to model an active lifestyle yourself. Make physical activity a priority in your own life, and encourage your child to join you in activities such as walking, hiking, or playing sports.

Making It Fun

Children are more likely to engage in physical activity if they enjoy it. Encourage your child to participate in activities they enjoy, such as swimming, dancing, or bike riding. You can also make physical activity fun by turning it into a game or challenge.

Providing Opportunities

Make physical activity a regular part of your child's routine by providing opportunities for them to be active. This can include enrolling them in sports teams, dance classes, or community programs that promote physical activity.

Limiting Screen Time

Excessive screen time is a significant contributor to sedentary behavior in children. Encourage your child to spend less time in front of screens by setting limits on their use of electronic devices.

Mistakes Parents Make in Stopping Their Child from Physical Activity

Unfortunately, many parents make mistakes in stopping their child from physical activity, which can have negative consequences on their development. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:


While it's essential to provide opportunities for physical activity, it's also important not to over-schedule your child. Giving your child too many activities can lead to burnout, stress, and reduced enjoyment of physical activity.

Being Overly Protective

Some parents are overly protective of their child, which can limit their opportunities for physical activity. Allowing your child to engage in age-appropriate physical activity, such as climbing on playground equipment, can help build confidence and independence.

Focusing Too Much on Competition

While competitive sports can be beneficial for some children, it's essential not to focus too much on competition. Encouraging your child to participate in non-competitive physical activities such as hiking, swimming, or dancing can promote enjoyment of physical activity.

Using Punishment or Rewards

Using punishment or rewards to encourage physical activity can be counterproductive. Instead, focus on making physical activity enjoyable and rewarding in itself.

Help of Child Development Expert

here are some ways in which a child development expert can help in promoting physical activity for child development:

  • Identifying the appropriate physical activities based on the child's age and developmental stage.
  • Creating a customized plan for physical activity that is tailored to the child's needs and interests.
  • Providing guidance on the benefits of physical activity for different aspects of child development, including physical, cognitive, and emotional development.
  • Offering support and motivation to both the child and parent to help them stick to the physical activity plan.
  • Addressing any concerns or barriers to physical activity that the child or parent may have, such as physical limitations, lack of access to facilities, or safety concerns.
  • Collaborating with other professionals, such as pediatricians or physical therapists, to ensure a comprehensive approach to physical activity and child development.

Overall, a child development expert can play a crucial role in helping parents and children understand the importance of physical activity for child development and providing them with the tools and resources they need to incorporate it into their daily routine.


Physical activity is a crucial component of child development, promoting physical health, cognitive function, Additionally, physical activity can also help children develop social skills as they interact with their peers during sports and games. This can improve their communication and teamwork abilities, as well as their understanding of rules and fairness.

Furthermore, physical activity has been shown to have positive effects on mental health. Exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and increase self-esteem. In fact, regular physical activity has been linked to a lower risk of developing mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Despite these benefits, many parents may inadvertently discourage physical activity in their children. Some common mistakes include:


With busy schedules and extracurricular activities, parents may overlook the importance of unstructured playtime and physical activity for their children.

Screen Time

Too much screen time, whether it be watching TV, playing video games, or using a phone or tablet, can take away from time that could be spent being physically active.

Lack of Outdoor Time

Children need fresh air and exposure to the outdoors for optimal physical and mental health. However, busy schedules and safety concerns may prevent parents from allowing their children to play outside as much as they should.

Pressure to Perform

While participation in sports and physical activity can be beneficial, parents should avoid placing too much pressure on their children to perform or excel in these activities. This can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety, which can have the opposite effect of what physical activity is intended to do.

To help encourage physical activity in their children, parents can take the following steps:

Schedule Playtime

Ensure that children have enough unstructured playtime during the day, including outdoor playtime whenever possible.

Set Limits on Screen Time

Limit the amount of time children spend in front of screens, and encourage them to find other ways to occupy their time, such as playing outside or participating in sports.

Encourage Participation in Physical Activity

Help children find physical activities that they enjoy, whether it be organized sports or simply running around outside.

Be a Role Model

Parents can set a good example for their children by participating in physical activity themselves, and making it a priority in their own lives.

In conclusion, physical activity is crucial for child development, providing a wide range of benefits for both physical and mental health. Parents can help encourage physical activity in their children by avoiding common mistakes and taking steps to prioritize it in their daily lives. By doing so, they can help set their children up for a lifetime of good health and well-being.