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Physical Activity and Motor Skill Development During Early Childhood: Investigating the Role of Parent Support

Maeghan E. James, Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Matthew Kwan, Sara King-Dowling, and John Cairney

Purpose: This study examined the relationship between parent physical activity (PA) support and children’s motor skill development and PA during early childhood and explored the potential moderating effect of child PA and motor skills on these relationships. Methods: Participants (N = 589, 250 girls, meanage = 4.93 [0.59] y) were part of a larger, longitudinal cohort study. Motor skills were assessed using the Movement Assessment Battery for Children—Second Edition. Moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA) was measured using ActiGraph accelerometers. Five items were used to measure parent support frequency (1 = none, 3 = 3–4 times, 5 = daily). Moderation analyses were conducted to examine the moderating effect of MVPA and motor skills on the relationship between parent support and motor skills and MVPA, respectively. Results: Parent support was significantly related to motor skills (B = 14.45, P = .007), and child MVPA significantly moderated this relationship (B = −0.17, P = .021). The relationship between parent support and child MVPA did not reach significance (B = 2.89, P = .051); however, motor skills had a significant moderating effect (B = −0.08, P = .022). Conclusions: These novel findings suggest parent PA support is related to child motor skills and PA during early childhood, but this relationship is context dependent. Child-level characteristics should be considered in future parent PA support research.

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The Move2Smile Online Hub for Parents to Support Aspects of Preschoolers’ Physical Literacy at Home: A Feasibility Study

Maeghan E. James, John Cairney, Nikoleta Odorico, Tracia Finlay-Watson, and Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos

This study aimed to develop and evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of a web-based platform for parents to support preschoolers’ development of physical literacy. Specifically, this intervention focused on children’s motor and social-emotional skill development. Twenty parents (M age = 35.7, SD = 4.2) of preschool-aged children (M age = 4.1, SD = 0.6) were assigned three intervention modules and completed weekly usage and feedback questionnaires (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree). Parents (n = 15) also completed a follow-up interview. Parents indicated the modules were useable (4.5/5), useful (4.5/5), feasible (4.4/5), enjoyable (4.5/5), and acceptable (4.5/5). Five themes underlying parental engagement were generated: (a) activity organization and planning, (b) (de)motivators, (c) parent knowledge and skills, (d) experience with the platform, and (e) application to everyday routines. The online modules under investigation were deemed both acceptable and feasible by parents. However, factors such as time and knowledge may impact parental engagement at home. Future research is needed to better understand the antecedents to parent physical literacy support behaviors in the early years.

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Expert Appraisal of the 2022 Canadian Para Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Adolescents With Disabilities

Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Nicholas Kuzik, Leigh M. Vanderloo, Kathleen A. Martin Ginis, Maeghan E. James, Rebecca L. Bassett-Gunter, Daniela Ruttle, Pinder DaSilva, Katerina Disimino, Christine Cameron, Mike Arthur, Keiko Shikako, and Amy E. Latimer-Cheung

This report provides an expert appraisal of the Canadian Para Report Card on physical activity (PA) for children and adolescents with disabilities. Thirteen indicators were graded by a panel of researchers, representatives from disability and PA organizations, and parents of children and adolescents with disabilities using benchmarks of the Global Matrix 4.0 and previous Canadian PA Report Cards. Facilitated panel discussions were used to appraise the available evidence based on data gaps, opportunities, and recommendations. The available data sources included four nationally generalizable or representative data sets. Grades were assigned to 8/13 indicators and ranged from B+ to F. Data gaps in measurement and national surveillance systems were identified. Ableism was an issue identified within some of the reporting benchmarks. The absence of PA from existing accessibility legislation in Canada was a policy gap of concern. Recommendations related to research, surveillance, and policy are provided to enhance PA among children and adolescents with disabilities in Canada.