This post will briefly show you as readers some of the interesting work from people with similar views to mine. There are a number of interesting articles to read, and even a video to check out. If you have anything else to add, or some even better posts for me to read then link them below!
The first is a blog titled ‘Are Our Young Kids Sufficiently Active?’ from the Australian Council for Health Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER), which looks at some statistical guidelines and assesses the current situation. The concept of having children choose activity over inactivity resonates with what this blog is all about. For more, check it out at – http://www.achper.org.au/blog/blog-are-our-young-kids-sufficiently-active
A video called ‘5 Extra Years’ has circulated YouTube for some time now. It is a powerful clip, meaning exactly what it says – Asking children what they would do with 5 extra years to live. The description details that the next generation are the first to be outlived by their parents. Increased inactivity is attributed as the main cause of this problem, even greater than smoking and other lifestyle factors. Well Worth a look:
Ready Steady Go Kids is a brilliant exercise program for younger children (2-6 years). It teaches the fundamentals of sports, exercise, general healthy lifestyle and more in a supportive and non competitive environment. With over 170 locations now in Australia it is one of the fastest growing programs. For more visit – http://www.readysteadygokids.com.au/
Remember to leave your opinions/thoughts/questions below.
For the past few months this blog has aimed to help parents and guardians make better choices for their respective children. Despite getting some very encouraging words from some parents, it would be amazing if this blog could reach out to more people.
Previous posts have looked at things like:
– General benefits of exercise for children
– The previously unheard of benefits (effects on mental health e.g. depression, ADHD, academics etc)
– The pivotal role of you as your child’s role model
– The sometimes neglected impact of diet
– Issues such as compulsory school sport, and whether your child can also play video games
– Finally, my personal story and a few things I enjoy
If any of these things have been beneficial to you and your children, share the blog, spread the word. This page has a small following and it would be awesome to expand the information to reach a wider audience.
For this blog post I’ve decided to discuss the benefits of routine play. I encourage all parents or guardians reading this to download the above calendar, and fill in a couple of times a week whereby outdoor play is scheduled. Research has shown children work better when a routine is set for them. When kids get in the habit of knowing an activity is on, (e.g. soccer training every Monday) they will be more ready and enthused about the prospect, as it becomes second nature. From personal experience, I always enjoyed knowing as a kid what days I had training, and which days I was going to go to the park with mum and dad. It is for these scientific and personal reasons I highly recommend my readers to try this calendar strategy.
Step 1 – Discuss with your child a day and time that they think they would like to have some fun. Tell them that this particular day is a fun day for the family to exercise and play together, and it will happen each week.
Step 2 – Write in the calendar above the time of activity, and write down in advance what you and your child will be doing. For example, in week 1 you may decide to have a game of dress ups outside with your child on Tuesday morning. Write in big letters, on Tuesday “Dress up fun”, or something along those encouraging lines, and leave it on the fridge or somewhere visible. Always keep your children included in the process and have the calendar in an easy to read place, they will want to feel involved.
If you feel this process works for your family, feel free to add extra activities per week, and other miscellaneous information to the calendar.
IMPORTANT – This is not a replacement for spontaneous play. Kids still need to have that urge to get outside and play with friends, with you or even by themselves. This is a complementary tool, to be used in conjunction with their own spontaneous, imaginative, outdoor activity.
Let me know your thoughts, and if you try it out, how it works for your family in the comments below.
All the outdoor fun in the world counts for not so much if your child has an inadequately healthy diet. I’m not suggesting you need to put your little one on a Celery-only plan and take all their yummy foods away, but have some sense about things. The right minerals and vitamins are essential in developing strong and healthy bodies, and have positive effects on the brain as well. Kids need a selection of Vitamin C (fruits), B Vitamins (eggs), Iodine (seafood), Calcium (milk) and Zinc (meats) to function properly and maintain good health. Of course each circumstance is different, and your child mightn’t like a selection of the mentioned groups, however multivitamins and the like exist to help with this.
Be a good role model:
It is important that along with encouraging and facilitating exercise, you do the same thing with healthy eating. As the most important influence on your child, you must set the pattern. Do things like keep a fruit bowl visible, eat healthy foods yourself, always encourage healthy eating and drinking water, and so forth. Another good idea is to involve your kids in the process, make fun games out of health foods. For example, cut food into fun shapes, teach them how to cook with you, or let them help you shop.
This post will deal with a topical debate which continues to grow in stature. Should sport be a compulsory part of a primary school students life? Currently, the new 2014 health curriculum has no requirement for sport. In previous years whereby sport was a compulsory part of all Aussie schools programs, it was seen as a bit of a relaxing time for teachers and students, and perhaps not taken as seriously as it should be. Lets look at both sides of the argument. Those against compulsory school sport argue that many children simply have other hobbies and interests they would rather pursue their time with, and we can’t force sport and games down kid’s throats. A previous post I made about pushy parents cites one reason for many children’s early disdain for competitive sport, but school sport or playtime shouldn’t fit under this umbrella, and should be time for children to play in an uncompetitive environment with the emphasis on health and fun, not competition.
By not making school sport compulsory kids lose out on multiple aforementioned life benefits, as well as basic fun and a way to break up the classroom routine. Not every student loves science and math, and the same will go for p.e, however we need to find a way to make the process as enjoyable and fruitful as possible for kids. By simply neglecting the benefits of physical education in schools, for me it being lazy and ignorant, and not allowing kids to receive the most truly holistic education they can. A formal push for compulsory school sport was very recently delved into in Victoria. For those interested; (http://www.vu.edu.au/news-events/news/compulsory-school-sport-on-the-agenda)
Feel free to leave your thoughts below!
Whilst the purpose of most of my posts is to discourage inside activity and promote the great outdoors, when I stumble across something interesting I feel I have to share it. A blog post last year from a page called ‘Active Sydney’ (http://activesydney.wordpress.com/) provides an interesting read on potential benefits of gaming of the indoor variety. There post ‘Positive effects of gaming?’ discusses how some aspects of video games and so forth can benefit kids of all ages, with backing from reputable sources to legitimize the article.
Whilst many parents would already think to implement an idea like this, I think it could very well be a positive idea to let kids have some video game fun in there free time, granted they have earned it through enough outdoor play. The Active Sydney post discusses how a small session of gaming every now and then helps kids think through situations, and learn core values and lessons, similar to the ones developed in team sports for example. “Co-operation, teamwork and determination”, to name just a few skills that can be honed and developed in your child from an effective balance of predominately outdoor play, with a little fun inside as a reward. It is important to remember this is not to replace the outdoor play, as that is still by far the most important aspect, and what this blog aims to promote. This post, however, is merely looking at the advantages of other peoples thinking, as we aim to include and understand the opinions of all interested parties. – J
Nobody wants to have an unhealthy child in any sense of the word. Outdoor activity aims to prevent children from being unhealthy physically, allowing their bodies to develop in a way which contributes to a healthy life. However, the link between your child running about in the backyard and their future mental health is stronger than you may think.
A Psychosomatic Medicine Journal study analysed thousands of children in the seventh and eighth grade. The study found quite a severe level of difference between those who had a general exercise pattern and those who didn’t, in terms of depressive mood symptoms. It has been known for some time that exercise is a good thing for treating people with depression, however the extent of its benefit becoming more and more clear. Young people with good exercise routines, built on a foundation of outdoor play have a better chance of being a healthier and happier adolescent. It starts with you as a parent, encouraging outdoor play. Hopefully these patterns will last through your child’s teen years, and the level of healthy, happy kids rises manifold. – J