Physical Activity for Children’s Fitness and Emotional Well-Being
If you have or are responsible for the care of children in the reception class or younger, then you know what types of behaviour are particular to children of that age. Renowned psychologist Erik Erikson tells us that for children aged four or five, the essential question to which the child must find an answer is “is it okay to do, move and act?” This also happens to coincide with the sensorimotor stage of physical development, in which children find their way in the world by touching and manipulating objects in the environment and becoming better acquainted with their own physical capabilities.
Don’t let a critical opportunity be lost on your child! Childhood obesity is at an all-time high, but the moral and emotional consequences of providing inadequate opportunities for your child to physically thrive can be dire and lifelong. Granting any child, particularly a very energetic child, with much-needed playtime – play being the “work” of young children – not only helps them to develop physically, but also answers the tacit question of whether the child is loved/validated at this stage of development. Children left to their own electronic devices by parents and guardians who “don’t have the time or energy” to engage with their children in basic physical activity is sending an emotionally damaging message regarding the child’s worth.
If you are at a loss as to how to engage your children to the extent that they need physical activity without it being too taxing for you as a parent or teacher, consider one of the following options that will help your child to develop physically, learn his or her environment and have emotional needs fulfilled:
Nature Walks. Going for nature walks in a nearby park or forest is a fantastic way to introduce your young child to the natural environment and to provide a space in which she can run free. Since most publicly accessible forests have dedicated trails for walking and hiking – and mountain biking if your child is big enough – and are generally not too crowded, your child will feel exhilarated by the unpolluted open space and the time spent outdoors. Chances are, so will you!
Household chores. This one may seem a bit less obvious, but let’s face it: if you have small children, then you have a house that needs cleaning. To the extent practicable, let your child share in the household chores so that she can be both active and productive while fulfilling your child’s need to show you that she learned how to do something important!
Dancing. If your preschool-age child has already fallen down the rabbit hole marked by a YouTube icon, make this work in her favour by finding videos of fun songs for her to dance to. Videos consisting mainly of people – or perhaps cartoon characters – dancing can be especially useful for this. For both children and adults, dancing to popular music is a great form of exercise in that it does not seem like exercise and improves balance.
Kidz R Fit conducts innovative children’s fitness programmes across the North East for all ages that even physically inactive children enjoy. If you are a concerned parent or a teacher looking for new opportunities for your children to improve physical fitness and contribute more fully to your children’s physical, mental and emotional development, then look no further than KidzRFit.
For more information about our programmes, call us today on 0191 4387632 or visit the Kidz R Fit website. Kidz R Fit are dedicated to providing classroom-based children’s fitness programmes for children of all ages. Activities include dance for children as young as two years, hula hooping for older children and much more.