Physical activity programming in family child care homes: providers' perceptions of practices and barriers

J Nutr Educ Behav. Jul-Aug 2009;41(4):268-73. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2008.01.013.


Objective: To examine family child care home (FCCH) providers' perceptions of appropriate physical activity (PA), current practices, and perceived barriers to inclusion of PA within their programs.

Design: A trained facilitator lead 4 focus group sessions of FCCH providers. Questions addressed providers' planning for PA, resources and barriers, and perceptions of children's engagement.

Setting: Family child care homes.

Participants: 32 FCCH providers (100% female) caring for children 6 weeks to 5 years old in predominantly mixed-age programs.

Phenomenon of interest: Types of and extent to which PA was offered for children and perceived barriers to PA in this setting.

Analysis: Authors coded and analyzed transcriptions based on a socioecological framework using qualitative data analysis software.

Results: Majority of providers reported running and dancing to music as the most common PA, generally in an unstructured context. Frequency varied from none to twice a day. Few providers reported planning intentionally for PA; any plans followed children's interests. Barriers to inclusion of PA included personal, programming, parent, environmental, and financial reasons. Providers requested training on PA, particularly ideas for experiences in mixed-age groups.

Conclusions and implications: Type, frequency, consistency, and duration of PA among FCCH homes vary widely. Implications include training on PA and resources tailored to the unique characteristics of family child care homes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Child Day Care Centers* / statistics & numerical data
  • Child Development / physiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dancing / physiology
  • Dancing / psychology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Perception
  • Play and Playthings