Only 1 in 3 children achieved the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity based on the Australian Health Survey (2011-2012). Does your child contribute to these statistics? Not being involved in physical activity could be due to your child’s lack of confidence to participate in sports. Below are 6 key movements that your child should be achieving in order to be confident in their movement and to develop a platform for lifelong health and well-being.
Did you know that jumping, hopping, skipping and even throwing objects all require balance? Climbing stairs, getting dressed, and standing and reaching for objects from a distance are also everyday things that require balance. Balance is indeed important to a lot of movements our children do.
Balance practice: Single leg stand for as long as possible; heel-to-toe walking on a line.
Simple cues to give to your child: airplane wings; focus your eyes.
Running is a faster version of walking, except there is a phase where neither foot is on the ground. A lot of children’s games involve running such as chasey, and sports such as basketball, soccer and netball. Being able to run fast, otherwise known as ‘sprinting’ to chase after a pet, or retrieving objects rolling away, and simply during play at recess and lunch, are other everyday activities that involves running.
Running practice: Timed 25- or 50-metre sprints
Simple cues to give to your child: eyes forward; bend your elbows and pump your arms; lift your knees; take big steps.
Catching is involved in many sports that your child may be playing at school, including netball and basketball. Missing a catch may be very obvious to their peers and result in decreased confidence, however it is important to ensure your child has plenty of opportunity to catch objects rather than shy away. Learning to catch larger sized balls is a great way to start, and then decrease the size of the ball as the child progresses.
Catching practice: Catching balloons; hot potato.
Simple cues to give to your child: eyes on the ball; soft fingers; wriggly worms (catching from below); butterfly fingers (catching from above).
It is particularly important to develop the right technique to throw for distance, and throw at targets accurately. Many field sports require throwing a ball to someone else or into a goal, including t-ball and netball.
Throwing practice: Roll up socks and throw them into a bucket; throw a small ball for distance and try to beat the record.
Simple cues to give to your child: Stand side on to the target; point at the target; step forward with the front foot; swing with straight arms (underarm) or muscle arms (overarm).
A good jump requires coordination of the arms and legs. Jumping is an important skill in playground activities such as jump rope, dancing and hopscotch. Similar skills are used in athletic sports like the long jump. Jumping for height is also used in basketball, volleyball and Australian Rules Football. As you can tell, there are many limitations to participation in recreational sports and general physical activity if jumping is not your child’s forte.
Jumping practice: jumping over a rope at different heights; frog leaps.
Simple cues to give to your child: bend your knees; head up and eyes forward; feet stay together; reach for the sky; land like a quiet mouse.