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Steps to Improving Physical Literacy

The information in this section offers ideas and strategies for you to support the physical literacy development of your child.

What to know

Physical literacy is moving with competence and confidence in a wide variety of physical activities in multiple environments that benefit the healthy development of the whole person.

  • Understand how physical activity, recreation, sport and physical education relate to physical literacy (Physical and PHE Canada Physical Literacy).
  • Recognize the wholeness of the child and his or her socio-emotional and mental needs (like feeling, thinking, and interacting) rather than only his or her physical needs (like fitness and movement skills). 
  • Know the many benefits associated with regular physical activity (the Benefits Hub).
  • Know your physical activity values and why you hold these values. Try to learn more about how and why these values vary in other individuals and cultures.
  • Be aware of local parks, recreational programs and facilities and how to access them. If applicable for your school and location, become familiar with safe active transportation routes to school so your child can safely walk or bike to school.
  • Recognize and manage how much your child is engaged in screen time (e.g., use of cellphones, video games, computers, television) particularly during the critical after-school hours. During that time of day, many children and youth could be particularly active but are prone to engaging in sedentary activities (such as screen time). Physical activities that incorporate screen time (“exergaming”) are not recommended because these activities fail to provide the necessary benefits (need for Vitamin. D, interaction with nature and other people) that relate to children maintaining a lifestyle of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.    
  • Recognize that short periods of boredom may be what some children must “work through” to creatively decide on activities that are engaging for themselves and others.
  • Ensure your child has access to a Quality Physical Education program. Ask questions. Is there adequate time (at least 150 minutes per week) and resources in the school curriculum for physical education? Is the teaching staff delivering the program qualified and enthusiastic? Is the school fully delivering the physical education curriculum? Are the school and its physical education program part of the Healthy School Program or something similar? 


Active for Life logoActive for Life has created several articles to help parents better understand physical literacy. Go to for more information.