As you are fully aware, we find ourselves in an unprecedented situation during this time of National Emergency. It is easy to become scared and overawed with reports of the current pandemic constantly on the news and social media. It is therefore important to keep the small targets in sight; to continue to look after ourselves, the people closest to us and those who rely upon us at this time.
Physical literacy is an ongoing process, children develop at different rates so by not attending regular PE lessons or clubs your children won’t fall behind. But, you can help them to remain fit and active. Research has shown that active children most often have active parents, they will use you as their role model and motivator, and as their primary educator at present, you can assist them by joining in with them and encouraging them to stay active.
The government recommends that children are active for an average of 60 minutes a day and I can appreciate that this can be an intimidating figure if you don’t have a history of exercise or activity yourself, but this target is a total across the whole day (averaged across the whole week) and can be made up of a number of smaller blocks of varying intensities and numerous activities.
Remember physical activity comes in many forms. Depending on the space and equipment you have, what your children like and how much time you want to spend, you will always be able to find something to suit your needs.
Areas of physical activity:
· Outdoor learning- treasure hunts, orienteering, gardening or practicing on their bike/ scooter.
· Cardiovascular fitness - working your heart and lungs maybe via an online workout (there are plenty out there) or any gross motor skills- running, jumping, skipping, side stepping, walking, jogging … etc.
· Individual activities - bouncing on their trampoline, practicing skills or challenging themselves to get better at sport specific skills.
· Team activities - any group activity they like to play. Teams can be made up of siblings and parents, it doesn’t matter if you have an odd number or the teams aren’t quite even.
· Free play – Primary aged children should be encouraged to participate in imaginative free play. Creating their own games with their own outcomes and rules is an excellent way for them to develop their leadership skills, explaining how to play to siblings at home or friends via video clips.
· Creative activities - making up a dance, gymnastics routines or obstacle courses.
· Relaxing/ mindfulness activities- yoga or meditation.
· Don’t forget, under current allowances, you are permitted to leave your house once a day to participate in exercise, this can be with people in your household, which could be in the form of walking, running or cycling locally. Remember if you do meet other people to ensure you keep your distance as you pass them.
Remember, in these unprecedented times, there is no template for right or wrong and every effort you make to keep yourself and your children active will be beneficial. Making exercise and activity fun is one of the simplest ways to enjoy it and keep everyone coming back for more.
Take care of yourselves and your families and I look forward to seeing all of the North Dorset Schools at a School Games event in the not too distant future.
North Dorset School Games Organiser.