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Saturday, December 16, 2017

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But My Kids Are Active

Kirsty Carling
Early Childhood Team Leader
Sport Bay of Plenty

As Early Childhood Team Leader at Sport Bay of Plenty, part of my role is to promote the importance of physical activity for children’s growth and development. When I talk about my role to parents, teachers or even my workmates; I often get incredulous looks and remarks along the lines of “Strategies to get my kids moving? I need help getting my kids to stop!”

It’s interesting to note while we might think our kids are active, the evidence shows a different picture. Children are not moving as much as they need to and the impact of this inactivity has far reaching consequences for children’s development.

I watched with interest recent programmes on children’s play; one on schools in NZ who are ditching politically correct rules around playground safety, “No rules schools” allowed children to pretty much do what they want at break times and have seen amazing changes in return. From skill development, lack of bullying to improved social behaviour. While it was refreshing to watch, it was also slightly depressing such changes are seen as new, innovative and exciting! Have we really gone so far in the other direction; over protecting our kids?

Sport Bay of Plenty’s Early Childhood Team works with Early Childhood educators, parents and community groups in the BOP to increase their skills and knowledge of movement opportunities that need to be offered to children from 0-5 years. We provide a facilitated learning approach with adults that work or live with children so they can provide these movement opportunities for children in their care. There is a real emphasis on FUN activities. If movement and physical activities are fun, whether you’re 4 or 74, you’re more likely to want to do them again.  

From enjoying and participating fully in sport and recreational activities to all the way to the ability to read and write; meaningful movement in the early years is one of the biggest influences on children’s brain development, helping enhance social, emotional, cognitive, spiritual and physiological development

Our aim is to make sure children are exposed to physical activity right from the start of their lives. If children grow up knowing being active is a normal expected part of their everyday life, they are more likely to continue with it throughout their lives. Part of this is seeing the adults in their lives taking part in activity as well.

So if you’re thinking it’s just too hard to get out there with the kids, break down those barriers and think of practical solutions. Remember children grow up quickly. What would you like them to remember about their childhood? How would you like them to remember their time with you?

For more information on accessing one of our fun and free workshops contact:

Kirsty Carling, kirstyc@sportbop.co.nz, 07 348 4125 ext 609

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