Jenn Heil cross-country skiing at Mont Ste Anne.

One thing I want for our son: physical literacy

Editor’s note: Jenn wrote this article before her son, Danik, was born.

I’m only a few weeks from the finish line (it’s also a start line). And since my belly is big enough that most people are not scared to congratulate me, the second thing they typically say to me is: “Wow, that baby will be active! Does he have his skis yet? Will he be at the 2034 Winter Olympic Games?”

Under that sweet sense of humour hides the cliché that people think genes are the one factor that determines if a child will be active or not.

Genes have a role to play, but really, who likes to cook if they were not taught what a whisk is? Who loves to play piano if they were never taught what a note is?

It’s the same with physical activities, and this is why the concept of physical literacy is something I am well aware of. I believe it’s the only way for everyone to love sport enough to be active for life!

The one thing I did not know is that we can actually have an impact on a newborn.

Right now, I have to admit that while playing defense with my son who is practicing his belly kick it sure seems that he will come into life with the skills of Lionel Messi.

But this simply isn’t the case. I’ve learned that we can actually do many things to help newborns develop simple motor coordination skills right away to develop the foundation for everything else. It is as simple as ensuring that newborns have ample supervised “tummy time.”

I am sure what I hope for my son is no different than any other parent.

Of course, health is at the top of the list. But connected to health is the idea of freedom because I personally experience freedom through being physically active.

Ever since I was a child – whether I was learning how to swing a baseball bat, attending tap dance lessons, or flying down a mogul course – I was most at peace when I was enraptured in the moment of physical activity with my body carving through space.

Sport and physical activity have always been a part of my life. I hope my son will find the same joy in being physically active as I have. I know that as parents we have an important role to play in ensuring he has a positive experience with physical activity and sport.

I look forward to playing with my son and inspiring him to develop those fundamental skills through different games and simple, everyday activities we can find at Active for Life.

And to answer the common questions I get these days about the little one…

Of course, I sure hope that he will love skiing. But above all I just want him to have the basic skills to enjoy sport and be active.

As for the Olympics, I believe that as parents we can only hope that our children find their own passion.

Welcome Danik!

On May 27, Jenn gave birth to her son, Danik. He checked in at just over seven pounds, and after one week is already working on his left side roll.

Congratulations, Jenn, from your friends at Active for Life!

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