How are you managing to keep your child active throughout this lockdown? We asked Primary School Teacher and FLexercise Teacher Natalie Green to give us some advice.
Have you watched a child play?
Children will naturally perform their own HIIT programme; they run at full pelt, rest, jog, stop, laugh then run again – a child can do this for hours. Children (unless in training) cannot naturally maintain a continuous level of intensity and they will ebb and flow in their activity. That’s why following you on a jog around the park is only great for the highly motivated or going for a long walk will include lots of stopping.
Exercise is a performance; in front of family or strangers in the park, the very fact one is ‘going to exercise’ makes it so. A performance requires skill and motivation and sadly not all children feel they have the skill and many lack the confidence and motivation.
Sounds familiar? Then change the intention from exercise to activity. Activity contributes to overall health and wellbeing. Exercise is a programme to improve physical fitness. Why would you tell a child that they need to improve their physical fitness! They won’t exercise if they aren’t active.
How can I get my child off the sofa?
You just want that child up on their feet – right? Let’s think about activity rather than exercise.
Consider the muscle work required in house-hold jobs like vacuuming, emptying the dishwasher or cleaning the shower. Make a routine – every at day at 5 pm your child helps you with a job. Put a timer on and if they do it quicker there’s a reward! Cooking is an activity too. However, refrain from openly calling these ‘activities’ – for now, nurture your child, show your appreciation and value their effort.
Everyday ideas to get active
Now here’s a question for you: why does a child need to sit down for all their lessons? When listening, watching or reading they could stand up. I would suggest that maths and art are good lessons to do standing. Get them working on their feet for part of the home school day, as a result, they’ll be engaging postural muscles and strengthening their shoulders and lower limbs.
Most importantly be aware that what motivates you may not motivate your child, be open minded. Your child won’t walk to the shops? Perhaps they’d prefer to dance for an hour with Wii Dance. Your child doesn’t want to join the family run? What about a personal skipping challenge -in the first instance let them set the goals and the reward!
Natalie has been an FLexercise teacher since 1997 she has been teaching children’s classes for the last 20 years. If you’re looking for a rewarding career in fitness we have some amazing opportunities for you. To find out more go to our ‘How to become a Teacher’ page of our website.