Most kids love being physically active. You see them in parks swinging from the jungle gym, screaming as they play tag, or clambering up the slide side when they should be swooshing down. But what if your child would rather read a book or paint with his fingers? You might be breathing a sigh of relief since you won’t have to chase him around, worried that he’ll fall and break his neck. However, with all the other children enrolled in soccer, swimming, and basketball, you may start to worry that your little one is missing out on something. And you may be right.
Value of movement Lara Palileo, program and curriculum development head of The Little Gym Philippines and officer-in-charge of The Little Gym in Alabang, says, “Keeping children physically active is both important and necessary. Physical activity is not only key to good health, but it is also a must for children because it promotes and increases brain activity.”
Irene Nicolas-Recio, former preschool teacher at Prep Camp and now stay-at-home mom, stresses the importance of physical activity for preschoolers. “Being physically active can improve self-esteem,” she says. “It can also help teach your children how to relax, improve self control, and develop a sense of discipline.”
She also cites the well-known benefits of being active. “It promotes growth and development, helps build strong bones, and develops muscles. It also helps with balance and other physical skills.” Lastly, especially when it comes to team activities, Recio adds that it provides an avenue for making new friends.
Your unique kid You know your child is one of a kind. This is why you shouldn’t despair if he doesn’t take a liking to physical activity.
“As parents and teachers, we always have to remember that each child is wonderfully unique,” says Recio. “So if a child shows an interest in physical activity, we can continue to encourage and support him with this. If he shows difficulty with or a dislike for it, then this can be a point of development for him.”
Palileo affirms this by saying, “Some children may not have been exposed to an active lifestyle or have not received the right type of exposure or encouragement… but this is something which can be developed.”