I just finished a course entitled Movement Skills and Fitness Development for Children, and I am super excited to incorporate my new found knowledge into the services of Mind Body Fitness and into my role as a parent.
The most important thing I took from the class... if you don't move it you will lose it. Basically, if a human has not developed fundamental movement skills before they hit puberty it is very unlikely they will be able to learn them later in life. Developing these skills (stability, coordination, manipulation, and locomotion) is key in creating a lifelong relationship with fitness! It is next to impossible for youngsters to love to move if they have not learned how to master basic skills in their early years. It is our job as parents to provide opportunities for children to move, dance, climb, jump and play their way into an active lifestyle. And YOU may burn a few calories along the way as well!
Some tips for parents…
Variety is key
Introducing a wide array of activities means children will have a better chance at developing fundamental movement skills. Mix it up – try running on a soccer field, balancing on a yoga mat, or something in between. Another plus--when a verity of activities are introduced boredom is less likely to set in.
Play play play!
Children learn through play, so giving them adult "gym style" workouts might be safe for their bodies but uninteresting for their minds. That's why cooperative games, relays, team sports, and dance classes work best. Try a game of freeze tag next time you are running around the park, so you can work up a sweat as well!
Think "train to play" not "train to win"
Once the groundwork is laid with fundamental skills, specialized skills like throwing, kicking, catching and climbing can be introduced. Perfecting these skills is not necessary, and unneeded pressure from adults can backfire. Teaching children these specialized skills should be done in a playful and fun way. Train to win can come later in life.
Live in NYC?
Looking for a toddler yoga class? Try Mind Body Tot starting this September!