As I stated in my previous blog, as adults (parents, teachers, therapists), we have a huge influence upon the lifestyles that children around us are going to live by. We need to be sure that we are teaching our children well so that they may learn to make their own healthy choices in the future. A huge part of living a healthy lifestyle is to exercise and remain active.
Here are a few simple movement activities to try with your family at home:
- Set-up an obstacle course outside or throughout your home. Incorporate a variety of skills. Some of these skills will be easy for your child and some of them will be more challenging. This will help your child to feel a sense of accomplishment and will also help him/her to set new goals for himself/herself. Skills can include, but are not limited to: dribbling a playground ball, catching a tennis ball with one hand, balancing on one foot with hands on hips, skipping or galloping, grapevines, log rolls, somersaults, push-ups and jumping jacks.
- Have a family yoga session! Lay out yoga mats or towels for everyone and take turns leading each other through various yoga poses (e.g. downward dog, plank, boat pose and warrior II pose). Try to increase your flexibility and longevity each time! By talking each other through the poses, this will help your child work on his/her body awareness and direction-following skills.
- During family game night, take movement breaks after every round and/or after every person takes their turn of the board game (e.g. superman pose, silly bug pose, jumping jacks, sit-ups, and lunges). This will not only help to ‘wake-up’ your bodies, but it will help to build strength and endurance in a carefree way as well! Similarly, it might take some of the emphasis off of winning and losing as your children become more concerned with who gets to pick the next movement activity!
As you can see, there are several easy ways to incorporate movement and exercise into your family’s daily activities! Make sure you are demonstrating the importance of exercise and fitness to your children by making it a priority in your own life. Stay tuned for my next blog regarding teaching your children the importance of goal setting. Please reach out to your child’s occupational therapist or physical therapist if you require more individualized ideas for gross motor and strengthening activities in your home.