Parents on the Concept of Physical Literacy: What Do They Know, What Do They Do, and What Do They Want?

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Aaron Simpson School of Human Sciences (Exercise and Sport Science), The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, Australia
Telethon Kids Institute, Perth, WA, Australia

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Ben Jackson School of Human Sciences (Exercise and Sport Science), The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, Australia
Telethon Kids Institute, Perth, WA, Australia

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Ashleigh L. Thornton Telethon Kids Institute, Perth, WA, Australia
Division of Paediatrics, School of Medicine, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, Australia
Kids Rehab WA, Perth Children’s Hospital, Perth, WA, Australia

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Michael Rosenberg School of Human Sciences (Exercise and Sport Science), The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, Australia

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Brodie Ward School of Human Sciences (Exercise and Sport Science), The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, Australia

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Peter Roberts School of Human Sciences (Exercise and Sport Science), The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, Australia

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Amanda Derbyshire School of Human Sciences (Exercise and Sport Science), The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, Australia

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Timothy Budden School of Human Sciences (Exercise and Sport Science), The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, Australia
Telethon Kids Institute, Perth, WA, Australia

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Physical literacy development in early childhood, viewed by many as the foundation for lifelong physical activity engagement, is significantly influenced by parents. Our aim was to explore parents’ understanding of physical literacy and gain insight into their perspectives on physical literacy promotion. We recruited 18 parents of children between 5 and 8 years old in Australia. Using semistructured interviews and thematic analysis, we identified several key issues regarding parents’ understanding and implementation of physical literacy. Parents expressed interest in improving their implementation of physical literacy practices and had (often unintentionally) provided support for physical literacy subcomponents in the past. However, they described difficulties prioritizing physical literacy above other parental demands and expressed conflicting perceptions regarding where the responsibility should lie for developing their child’s physical literacy (e.g., at home or at school). To ensure that the physical literacy “message” reaches parents, we encourage physical literacy promoters to consider the target (e.g., responsibility, priorities, and awareness) of their promotional strategies. Further investigation into the influence of sociocultural and economic factors on parents’ understanding and application of physical literacy is warranted.

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