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Article

Moving Together: Understanding Parent Perceptions Related to Physical Activity and Motor Skill Development in Preschool Children

1
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80532, USA
2
Prevention Research Center, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA
3
Department of Pediatrics, Section of Nutrition, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO 80045, USA
4
Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Danae Dinkel, Kyong-Ah Kwon and Matthew R. Bice
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(17), 9196; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18179196
Received: 29 June 2021 / Revised: 22 August 2021 / Accepted: 27 August 2021 / Published: 31 August 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promotion of Physical Activity in Early Childhood)
Background: Establishing physical activity (PA) and motor behaviors in early childhood are important for developing healthy activity behaviors. Parents play a central role in shaping young children’s PA and fundamental motor skills (FMS). This qualitative study explored parents’ attributes, values, perceptions, and practices related to PA and FMS. Methods: Thirty-one parents (26 mothers) of preschool-aged children participated in semi-structured in-person interviews. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, coded and analyzed using an iterative approach. Results: Four themes related to PA and FMS emerged: (1) parent attributes; (2) parent–child interactions; (3) parent perception of children’s attributes; and (4) parenting practices. Although most parents enjoyed playing with their child, some did not realize the importance of engaging in PA with their child and even believed that FMS are naturally developed. Parents indicated that children’s temperament may influence their preference for practicing motor skills. Conclusions: Social support and positive parenting practices, including encouragement, monitoring, logistical support, co-participation, and facilitation, are important for the development of PA and FMS. The findings add emphasis to the importance of parents’ role in the development of young children’s PA and FMS, and they inform future strategies aiming to promote young children’s activity behaviors. View Full-Text
Keywords: fundamental movement skills; gross motor skills; parenting; physical activity; preschooler; interviews; qualitative fundamental movement skills; gross motor skills; parenting; physical activity; preschooler; interviews; qualitative
MDPI and ACS Style

Agard, B.; Zeng, N.; McCloskey, M.L.; Johnson, S.L.; Bellows, L.L. Moving Together: Understanding Parent Perceptions Related to Physical Activity and Motor Skill Development in Preschool Children. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 9196. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18179196

AMA Style

Agard B, Zeng N, McCloskey ML, Johnson SL, Bellows LL. Moving Together: Understanding Parent Perceptions Related to Physical Activity and Motor Skill Development in Preschool Children. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(17):9196. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18179196

Chicago/Turabian Style

Agard, Becky, Nan Zeng, Morgan L. McCloskey, Susan L. Johnson, and Laura L. Bellows. 2021. "Moving Together: Understanding Parent Perceptions Related to Physical Activity and Motor Skill Development in Preschool Children" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 17: 9196. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18179196

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