There are limitless benefits of children exploring their movement. Climbing, crawling, rolling, lifting, throwing, catching, kicking, carrying, running and jumping just to name a few! We all know these active moments are vital for child development – but why?
When children are moving well, everything else in their lives will be moving well. Movement is of up most importance when it comes to quality of life. It is more than just about getting results and winning in sports or group activities. Physically moving and participating in fitness is vital for our young children to develop their perceptual-motor skills.
These skills use your brain and body together to accomplish tasks, a perfect example of this is balancing on a beam. This may appear to be a simple task but it is both the brain and the body working together as one which helps the child to achieve their balance on the beam, not just the brain and not just the body as individual parts.
It goes without saying the physical benefits of fitness are huge. It improves bone and muscle strength, develops gross motor skills, improves balance and strength and develops cardiovascular fitness.
Physical activity builds neural pathways – the connections in which information travels through the brain. A child whose brain has more neural pathways will be able to learn more easily! It is important for children to establish a health sensory system through movement which will ultimately start the learning foundations for the rest of their lives.
Recent studies which tested school aged children showed that those who exercise or participate in some sort of regular sporting activity, actually performing better in academic subjects than those who didn’t participate in any form of physical activity.
EMOTIONAL AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
With so many video games and iPads at the ready nowadays, reinforcing the importance of movement to some children can be a hard task. That’s why the earlier you start introducing movement to your kids, the better.
Participating in sports and groups or playing with other children is so important for a child to develop emotional resilience and it also teaches them to use their imagination, learning to express and manage their feelings as they consider others, work in teams and create friendships.
They also have to navigate how to share and take turns which is a crucial life skill and one which is especially hard for toddlers! Learning movement and improving their moments gives children a huge self esteem boost and confidence – wow! look what I can do!
BUILDING A HEALTHY IMMUNE SYSTEM
OK, so the clean freak parents out there will hate me when I say this, but I truly believe that being outdoors and getting covered in dirt, mud and grass is an essential part of being a kid! A weekend hike through the bush is perfect to get kids moving in nature! Not only is it fun, but being among trees and animals is grounding for children. They get to explore, be in the fresh air and and breathe in all the good stuff!
Active kids are healthy kids. They need to get moving, get outdoors and experience some sort of sport or excerise wether it be individual or part of a team. Moving promotes a healthy sensory system and suports a high level or learnuibgn in the classroom.
The message is clear – our kids need to be moving out in nature to help reduce stress and live happier, healthier and more motivated lives.
– Written by guest health and fitness contributor, Darren James.
Darren, who grew up on the Mornington Peninsula, has a passion for improving children’s health and physical development. Darren currently runs “Evo Kids” a health and fitness class which takes a holistic approach, promoting a healthy lifestyle in children, helping them develop a lifelong passion for physical activity whilst preparing them mentally and emotionally for both school and the broader community.
Evo Fitness currently runs from Mordialloc Beach Primary School and is designed for kids aged 2 – 5 years. For more information visit www.evohealingandperformance.com.au or www.facebook.com/Darrenjamespt