5 easy ways to help your child move more
Why should we encourage children to move more?
Movement is crucial to physical development. Exercise and movement develop a child’s muscle and bone strength, improve heart and lung health and help a child to maintain a healthy weight, reducing risk of disease. Playful movement also boosts energy levels and supports emotional well-being.
For these reasons, parents, educators and care-givers are keen to encourage all children to move more. We want to foster a love of movement which will continue into adult life. However, even with these good intentions, it can sometimes feel difficult to come up with fun, engaging ways in which we can encourage children to move more.
In this blog post, we will suggest some fun, practical ways in which we can encourage children to make movement an integral part of their lives.
5 easy ways to help your child move more
1. Create chances for physical activity across a ‘normal’ day
Place your baby’s toys on the floor, just out of reach. For young children, place toys in the next room, or the garden so they have to move to find them.
Encourage your child to act out the actions in a story book they have recently read.
Stretch up towards the sky every morning when you get out of bed.
Suggest to your child that they play with their toys in different positions (for example, lying on their tummy or kneeling up).
Before bedtime, ask everyone to help pick up the toys and put them away.
Have a race to the end of the garden and back again.
See if you can balance on one leg while you brush your teeth in the morning. Try balancing on the other leg when you brush them before bed.
2. Use physical activity to encourage all areas of learning and development
Aid your child’s speech and language development by using ‘positional’ words as you move together i.e. ‘over’, ‘down’, ‘up’, or ‘under’ etc.
Refine counting skills (for example, count your snaps in crocodile pose!).
Develop social skills by guiding your child to make space for others as they do activities such as tree or mountain pose, or to wait their turn as part of the play (for example throwing and catching, or rolling a ball to each other in turn).
3. Play with your child
As a parent, you are vital! When you play actively with your child, you have a huge impact, not only on their physical skills but across all developmental areas. Fundamental movement skills are the building blocks that enable children to participate in sports, writing and even reading and academic activities.
4. Provide specific opportunities for physical activity
Visit the park on the way home from school, providing another chance for your child to get active with friends and siblings.
Take a family trip to the swimming pool at the weekend and enjoy movement through the water.
For babies, try regular tummy time. For older children crawling activities (such as a version of tails where the children crawl instead of run) or energetic games such as tag.
5. Make movement playful, imaginative & fun!
Sam Petter (our founder), believes that we can inspire children to be more active through playful activities. This kind of activity ignites their imagination and nurtures the innate love of movement that children are born with. Playful movement sets the foundations for a lifelong awareness of ‘how to keep your body healthy’.
Put on a piece of music (try something without words) and ask your child to move in whatever way that the music tells them to. Try it yourself.
Try dinosaur pose together and imagine what kind of dinosaurs you will be today.
Imagine you are a beautiful flower, starting as a tiny seed, growing and blooming (see growing flower pose for how to do this step-by-step).
Pretend that you are a slow, clumsy, lumbering ogre who is trying to catch your child. They need to keep moving away from you, or you will catch them and tickle them!
Physical activity must become ‘a way of life’, for ourselves and our children. Something which is enjoyed, rather than a chore to do. Movement shouldn’t be daunting, rather something that can be a part of the day. So this week, laugh and have fun with your child. Try rolling and stretching in crocodile pose, or find your nearest Children Inspired by Yoga class for more fun & imaginative ideas to help your child move more.
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