Five ways to help kids enjoy movement from an early age

It’s great to see another non-profit organization taking up the banner of physical literacy. In a recent online article the American Council on Exercise (ACE) looked at the importance of helping kids how to understand and enjoy movement from an early age.

A child’s first 5 years are a key time for them to learn fundamental movement skills like jumping and running. Kids who aren’t grounded in these basic skills will grow up with less physical literacy meaning they won’t enjoy moving and so won’t be inclined to activity.

And there are other benefits they’ll miss out on too. Moving with confidence won’t just make kids enjoy being active, they’ll also be more likely do better in school, be healthier, and have a higher sense of self-esteem and well-being.

You can help your kids become more physically literate. ACE offers these five tips:

1. Nurture your baby’s motor skill development

You can help your baby lay the foundation for developing physical literacy by focusing on motor skill development. ACE lists 11 milestones that you can use as a guide with your baby, along with some great supportive exercises.

2. Push back against PE cuts

Even though we’re seeing more and more research showing how important school PE programs are to physical literacy, PE and recreation budget cuts are everywhere these days. Calling or writing letters to your local representative could help to keep or even add new PE programs.

3. Don’t be in a rush

Try to work with your kids at their own pace. Focus on successes and positive reinforcement. Compliments will go a long way to building on the confidence and healthy ego that physical activity can bring.

4. Make it fun

Sports are so often about winning and losing. Sure, competition can make activities exciting but sometimes that pressure takes away the fun. If kids are enjoying being active then they’ll keep being active.

5. Be an active role model

Whether you see it as a plus or a minus, our kids watch us and model their behaviour on ours. Kids with active parents are far more likely to be active themselves.

What is one sport or activity you’ve always wanted to try? What do you think about you and your kids trying it together?

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