As a busy mom, I tend to think that just finding the time to get my kids active is the main challenge, but I’ve started to see that there’s a real difference between my children. If I want to keep both of them engaged and active, then I need to respond to their differences accordingly.
While my daughter has generally always been more inclined to be sedentary (okay, TV fanatic might be more honest!), she has always enthusiastically joined in with organized sports from a young age: gymnastics, creative dance, swimming, karate, horse-riding, skating, skiing.
For a kid whose first love might be TV, she’s certainly done pretty well at keeping active. Now 8 years old, she recently enjoyed jazz and hip hop and zumbatomics courses and is getting into skiing right now!
My 4-year-old son, however, wants to play in the garden or be out on his skateboard or scooter on the street until dusk, pushing himself further and further at the bike park to do jumps and tricks or pleading with us to go and play tennis. But he is uninterested in sports classes or other registered activities.
Towards the end of summer we pored over the local leisure guide together and he excitedly picked out activities he wanted to try, but one by one he’s dropped out of them all with very little participation. He’s had little interest for soccer and hockey and basketball. Shy? Never. Sporty? Absolutely. Confusing? You bet!
I’ve been told by the experts at Active for Life that my son is probably too young for those kinds of sports and activities anyway, and that his interest in being active is a good sign of things to come.
But it’s also an opportunity for me to recognize that my kids are different and that’s okay, so long as they are both physically active, trying and practicing new skills, and enjoying the satisfaction of mastering some. We just have to make time for my daughter to attend classes and still hit the bike park with my son whenever we can.
Time for me to encourage them each in their own way, I think.