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The KiwiBaby, KiwiToddler and KiwiPreschooler Programs are education and health programs designed specifically for families with children from birth to five years.

The following is a summary of:


What the programs are about, an overview.


Why are these programs necessary?


The benefits of getting children active from day one as well as the benefits to parents.


These are 'HOW to DO' programs and the only ones of their type in the World we are aware of.

If closer family links and active routines can be established from day one, just like eating and sleeping, then we are well on the way to having more active and healthier communities worldwide.

For people in the Waikato New Zealand region please refer to the Sport Waikato New Zealand site for KiwiBaby Information.


An Overview

The target groups for these three programs are parents of one to five-year-olds.


0 - 1 year old - KiwiBaby
1 - 3 years old - KiwiToddler
3 - 5 years old - KiwiPreschooler

Each program is an interactive web site and/or separate manual (resource) made up of the following:


Many activities encouraging 0-5 years olds into appropriate movement skills (physical activity). Each window/page is a lesson plan of activities appropriate to the stage of a child's development.


Safety tips included for each activity.


The benefits of starting baby develop appropriate movement skills.


Instruction on how to make the toys (inexpensive) used in the activities.


Parenting tips for understanding ages and stages hopefully encouraging parents not to push their children.


The interactive web site allows members;


The opportunity to plan the daily activities of your child.


To track the progress of your child against the standards of a normal child.


To buy and sell section to pass on those pushchairs and cots etc.


To interaction with a Doctor.


The opportunity to download activities.


To view animations and instructions showing how activities should be performed.


To be involved in a controlled commerce section that leads members to associated commercial supporters.


And many others.


These programs are based around


Enhancing children’s movement skills by encouraging both parents to accept everything a child does is exercise related and starts from the very first day of a child’s life.


This unique parenting program provides parents with resources that will enhance, on a daily basis, their parenting skills.


The two methods of delivery will provide access to all possible parents.


Why do we need these programs?

The first seven years of life are the most influential in establishing habits and setting the foundation for continued learning throughout life. Everything children do involves physical activity, whether it is talking (exercising the jaw) or walking.

Learning movement skills is the start of physical activity.

Physical activity is a basis for all people to stay healthy, which in turn contributes to our possible involvement in sport. Sport and physical activity contributes to communities becoming more 'healthy ' in the broadest sense of the word.

Just as we start the learning process to speak, read and write from day one so should we with physical activity.

The most popular physical activity in the world is walking or variations of movement skills, so everyone can be included from the first day of their lives to the last.

Physical activity should be a habit and good habits can be started from day one.

Establishing daily activity routines at an early age helps children to become strong and healthy as they grow while preparing them for a life of exercise and sport.

Parents of newborn infants often experience anxiety around meeting the emotional and developmental needs of their child. Evaluations of KiwiBaby have shown a positive relationship between the programs and parent-child outcomes across a number of dimensions including the mental health of the mother.

Parents are the first and most important teachers and therefore require support and guidance around ideas about movement and play that are appropriate to their children's health and developmental needs.

The KiwiBaby, KiwiToddler and KiwiPreschooler Programs were developed by Sport Waikato (New Zealand) to educate parents in safe, beneficial ways of handling and exercising their babies.

These programs focus in detail on the physical development and movement aspects of the first five years of life and also promote activities involving thinking, moving, communication, socializing and imitating.

The purpose is not to transform Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers into "Super Beings" but to help them to become strong, healthy, well co-ordinated, well adjusted and active Adults. This process must be planned and start at the earliest possible stage.

These manuals provide assistance to parents showing them 'HOW TO DO' activities with their children.

These programs were started in Waikato New Zealand in 1990 and have been extremely successful ever since.


The Threat of Obesity and Diabetes.

The biggest threat to the future health of the western world is the threat of obesity and diabetes.

Our present lifestyles of inactivity, cars, fast foods, computers and TV are encouraging obesity which in turns contributes to diabetes.

Childhood obesity is increasing with major health ramifications. The development of a routine based on movement through active play and physical interactions from birth is seen as a key to obesity prevention.

Dr Baur, paediatrician and child obesity expert at Westmead Children's hospital notes an alarming increase in children presenting with fatty livers, hip, knee and ankle problems and the early signs of adult (type 2 diabetes).

An examination of the longitudinal relationship between 'body fatness' and physical activity in infants concluded that body fat related more to the physical activity level of the infant than energy intake. (Ruowei, O'Connor, Buckley & Specker, 1995).

To help combat these we need to ensure that our future generations are more active and therefore physically and mentally healthier than present generations.

If we fail all countries will have increasing health costs that will impose huge demands on their economies.

Studying the role of mothers in infant obesity, Jain & Sherman (2001), found that the key to reducing infant obesity was for health professionals to focus on goals defined by the mothers, such as activities and not targeting obesity itself. Through the critical early childhood years the "ways in which parents interact with their children will set the stage for an infant's growth and development throughout life", (American Academy of Paediatrics).

What we need to do as adults of this generation is to ensure that healthy lifestyle habits are learned by the next generation in the years that they learn best and that is the first seven years.

Learning movement skills is the start to physical activity (Metcalfe & Clark, 2000).

The KiwiBaby, KiwiToddler, KiwiPreschooler programs are designed to do just that as well as helping parents into activity and to be better parents.

As of 2003 the programs have had 13 years of making children more active and able to enjoy healthy active lives in Waikato New Zealand.


The Benefits

Evaluations of the programs have demonstrated that babies in the program are more active and respond better with adults and other children.

The Evaluations also showed how parents felt better able to cope with children and became more proactive about childcare. The programs also had a positive effect on child abuse.

The resource is designed to spark ideas for parents/caregivers and is always there to be referred to if required.

Parenting skills are not necessarily inherent; they can be learned through education and experience.

A parent's frustration and inability to relate in appropriate non-threatening ways if often attributed to lack of knowledge of parenting skills. These programs help parents by providing information and guidance relevant to their own situation.

The feedback from Parents saying the resources have been extremely helpful in making them more effective Parents is overwhelming and well documented.

The KiwiBaby, KiwiToddler and KiwiPreschooler Programs aim to create an enjoyment of physical activity through play, and to provide parents, caregivers and children with ideas for play that can be further developed through imaginative and creative thinking. The programs promote the value of giving praise and reassurance, using the Principles of FairPlay, further strengthening parent/child relationships. Parents are also encouraged to be positive role models for their children by choosing healthy, active lifestyles themselves.

As all other aspects of learning start from day one, so should health, movement and "sport" education.

If closer family links and active routines can be established from day one, just like eating and sleeping, then we are well on the way to having more active and therefore healthier communities worldwide.




The KiwiBaby Vision

"The KiwiBaby program is designed to guide parents/caregivers through the first 12 months of their baby's life by providing appropriate physical, social and intellectual development expectations, in the form of a simple, easy to use, colour-coded manual.

It suggests techniques and activities that can be used to enhance bonding and communication, encourages effective parenting skills and introduces healthy lifestyle routines and activities from the first day of life".




To provide parents with information and guidance.


To start babies on a daily exercise routine.


To promote good patterns of movement development.


To develop body awareness through loving touch, and strengthen parent-child bonding.


To promote the value of parents doing daily exercise as role models for their babies.




Deep relaxation bathing and water confidence activities.


Baby massage.


Exercise related play activities.


Learning through observation.


Increased parent/baby communication.


KiwiBaby Pack

All parents in the Greater Waikato Region are offered the free KiwiBaby pack following the birth of their baby by the birthing services (Midwives, Maternity Units, Plunket Nurses and other postnatal providers).

It contains the KiwiBaby Manual and an assortment of relevant information relating to diet, safety, and child development.

KiwiBaby Manual

Is colour-coded for stages of growth, with the activities being appropriate to baby's developmental abilities up to 12 months old. It is easy to read and the exercises are simple everyday activities - there is nothing 'new'.

KiwiBaby Video

Complements the manual. It shows parents how to use the manual and provides visual demonstrations of some of the activities.



Promotes good patterns of movement.


Creates an enjoyment of physical activity through play.


Promotes and develops body awareness.


Baby continues to enjoy and learn from good loving touch.


Promotes a caring and sharing relationship between parent/carer and baby.

Provides appropriate challenging activities.

Encourages recognition of the fact that all movement in babies can be exercise and health related. Exercise is the first stage towards sporting participation.


We are not trying to produce Superkids

We are attempting to increase children's confidence in their own ability to achieve physically, and therefore increase their feelings of self-esteem.





"To introduce an exercise concept appropriate to each stage of development for all toddlers, which will continue their participation in daily exercise activities".




To promote regular daily exercise routines for toddlers and their families.


To encourage parents and caregivers as their children's first and most important teachers.


To provide activities for toddlers that are appropriate to their stages of development.


To provide parents and toddlers with ideas for play that can be further developed through imaginative and creative thinking.


To promote the value of parents doing daily exercise as role models for their toddlers.

To develop body awareness through loving touch.

The KiwiToddler Manual is colour coded for developmental stages, with all activities being appropriate to the developmental abilities of toddlers. It is easy to read and the activities are simple, adaptable and use recycled or homemade materials.

This manual is to be used as a guide as all children will develop at their own pace.

KiwiToddler Distribution

All parents in the Greater Waikato Region who are using the KiwiBaby program and who have returned the KiwiBaby Registration Form are offered the KiwiToddler Manual free when their baby turns twelve months old.

Manuals are available for purchase from Sport Waikato.

Benefits of KiwiToddler


Creates an enjoyment of physical activity through play.

Promotes good patterns of movement.
Develops skills involving thinking moving, communicating, socialising and imitating.

Stimulates curiosity, imagination and creativity.


Promotes the value of giving praise and positive reassurance.


Strengthens parent-child relationships.


Provides parents with free information and guidance.

Encourages recognition of the fact that all movement in toddlers is exercise related.
Exercise is the first step towards sporting participation.




"To introduce an exercise concept appropriate to the preschoolers stage of development, which will start them on a lifetime of health, exercise and sport".



Parents and caregivers can become involved in their preschoolers play which will:


Extend their bonding and communication experiences and enhance and strengthen their family relationships.


Create opportunities for learning where parents/ caregivers can then re direct, sustain, and challenge their preschoolers as their first and most effective teachers.


Demonstrate a good example by excercising with their preschoolers regularly and enjoy the benefits of a daily healthy lifestyle, as well as just plain having fun together.


The KiwiPreschooler Manual contains activities appropriate to the developmental abilities of preschoolers. It is easy to read and encourages the use of recycled or homemade materials.

This program continues on from the KiwiBaby and KiwiToddler programs which promote daily exercise habits through play.

The manual is to be used as a guide as all children will develop at their own pace.

Tips for handling you preschooler with confidence


Use praise as a positive approach as often as you can. Give praise for the efforts rather than the achievements.


Set clearly defined boundaries and try to be consistent with these.


Look ahead and distract or alter the behaviour before it becomes a major problem.


Vary the activities through your preschoolers day, to maintain a good balance, e.g. some quiet times with books, busy times running, playing outside, massage time.

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