We’ve been warned that childhood obesity is on the rise for years but now the scary truth is that 10 per cent of boys and nine per cent of girls start primary school obese. As a nation we’re so much less active than we used to be and it’s having a huge impact on our children. What’s the solution? Now, the government has set an exercise target of 180 minutes of physical exercise a day for children under five years. As a parent, we always want what’s best for our children but keeping children active for three hours a day can feel like a daunting prospect. With the help of Micro Scooters, we’ve compiled some practical advice to help you get your children moving and set them on a healthy and active path in life.
Understand the importance of exercise
Physical activity isn’t just about keeping fit; it’s also vital for your toddler’s development and confidence. “There is now a proven link between activity levels in children as young as 12 months old, while they develop their gross motor skills, and their physical, academic and emotional confidence in adulthood,” according to the Micro Scooters Play for Life campaign.
Get your children active from a young age
Much like learning to speak and learning to read, children need to develop the basic skills of movement before honing motor skills like balance and agility. What’s more, if you make physical activity part of everyday life, it’s more likely your little ones will enjoy exercising as they grow older.
Make being active part of the daily routine
Many routines and habits we develop in childhood are set for life, positive and negative ones. From 12 months to 7 years is the ‘Fundamental Patterns’ period, “This is ‘base camp’ for establishing movements that will become a person’s bedrock for life. Throughout our lives, we constantly return back to these fundamental patterns while we hone new skills,” report the experts at Brytespark Limited. In which case, it’s crucial to lay the foundations for good exercise habits while your children are young.
Consider development stage rather than age bracket
The initial physical development stages within the Fundamental Patterns period are from first steps and tottering about through to walking confidently. Your child will need to work through these developmental stages at their own pace. The first stage is all about balance, posture and co-ordination. After this comes core strength and muscle, and an awareness of the space around them. Finally, stage three will see your child honing specific movements and finessing their fine motor skills.
Engage in Deliberate Play
Deliberate Play is when children are given challenges and are encouraged to find the solution through movement. This can be through “goal specific tasks, creative themes or ‘family’ rules to traditional games,” explain Micro Scooters. The theory is that meaningful play with rewards can lay the foundations for a lifetime of physical activity.
How to get your kids active
It’s important to have structure and guidance when ensuring your child packs the right amount of physical activity into their day. “For children to confidently develop their fundamental movement skills, physical play should be structured, with adult involvement,” reports the Play for Life campaign?. Activity can be divided into three stages and Micro Scooters has provided some guidance as to what should be happening at each stage and suggested some activities to get the kids active. Once you’re familiar with what it means for your child to be active, the 180-minute of exercise government guideline will likely seem a lot less intimidating!
Stage 1: Helping your child progress from first steps to confident walking.
Stage one is all about balance and posture. Your little one is starting to explore the world around them as they gradually become more mobile. Micro Scooters has developed a scooter specifically to support this phase of development. The Mini Micro 3in1 scooter comes with a seat, that supports your child as they get to grips with movement and the power of their legs. It also features an o-bar that is easier for little hands to grip onto. You’ll be able to make things more interesting and interactive with games such as Grab The Teddy and Join The Dots.
Stage 2: Applying the fundamental skills your child has learnt to specific tasks
By stage two, your child will be standing upright confidently and be able to use what they’ve learnt in stage one to achieve specific tasks. You can continue with the Mini Micro 3in1 scooter at this point, with the option of removing the seat and changing the o-bar to standard handle bars. With your child, no longer scooting for the sake of scooting, Play For Life has a range of activities and tasks your child can complete at each stage, alongside the physical activity of scooting around.
Stage 3: Honing their decision-making skills, spatial awareness and core strength
Now your child can hone the skills they learnt in stage two and incorporate movement into decision-making. The classic Micro Scooter Mini Micro is best suited for this stage for helping your little one travel quickly from A to B, with or without stabilisers. A balance bike is also a good option here for helping familiarise them with a bike. The games and challenges at this stage are based on decision and communication skills and include scooter tag and relay races.