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Ode to our children - Education focus: Raising active children

With Mother’s day approaching in May and conversations this month inspiring discussion and consideration for our various parenting styles, this months blog was born.

Parenting is hard, there is no handbook and no one size fits all. Children are so unique and present individual challenges with the societal expectations and current social media pressures. Life can be tough, sometimes terrifying. We don't want to get it wrong but so many times find ourselves feeling like we have failed, then, suddenly, we have those blissful moments that remind us of the joys of this journey. It still blows my mind how these joyous moments can be so profound and bring so much joy and meaning to our life.

Our goal as parents has always been to help raise independent, kind and contented children to adulthood. To show them the value of hard work, the pleasures and wonders of life and try leave the world better than when we started. This is such an idealistic dream, often times we need to apply the principle of first do no harm, second to keep harm being done to them and then we can consider all the good stuff. It can be a minefield. Our world today is so different from even a generation ago, many ways wonderfully so and some ways frightful.

I remember the fear I felt when I was pregnant with my first child. I came to realise that from that moment on I needed to make sure that my decisions are in line with those I would want my child to make or be proud of. Every choice from then on became that much simpler, what would I want my child to do? Its so funny how we would give and do so much more for our children than ourselves, at our own peril sometimes. We want them to have all the good life can offer and we want to protect them from all the pain, the irony being that we often times have our greatest moments rising above said pain. As much as we try teach and guide them, oftentimes they are teaching and guiding us.

We now have three amazing children and a very full life. Our children challenge us and are our greatest InsideOut adventure. Our family may not be typical, but these days there is no typical. Our children are our future. We continue to try live the example we want them to follow as it is said, children do as you do , not as you say. Live well!

Education focus: Raising active children

In such a technology driven world today, getting our kids off screens is a daily struggle, much as it can be for ourselves. In considering how to motivate them to get outside I think its important to start with how we get ourselves outside, make it fun! Covid has really highlighted the conversation of work/life balance and the innate need we have to connect with nature. Our children are guided by the example we set. It is no different in physical activity.

One of our core philosophies is to help our community, our family and children, to be the best version of themselves. Physical activity is part of that in that it promotes well-being and good health both in our bodies and minds. These benefits apply from very young. Exercise must be positive and exhilarating. It must bring joy. The younger we start the better and easier it is to encourage a lifelong love of the outdoors and especially of self.

So what are the benefits of exercise for our children?

  • Improved mental well being

  • Improved physical health

  • Decreased risk of chronic disease

  • Improved cognition, executive function

The research is clear and undisputed, increasing activity from a very young age is all round beneficial.

So how can we achieve better levels of activity for our children?

  • Walk, don’t drive

    • Park further away, walk to school/shops

    • Walk as a family/with the dog

  • Encourage gifts that promote activity

    • Bicycles

    • Swing ball

    • Sports toys

    • Skating

  • Include active outings/day trips in the social calendar

    • Beach trips

    • Hiking/walking

    • Picnics

    • Parks and farms

    • Bike tracks

    • Swimming

  • Dancing for fun and joy at home

  • Include a active or physical component to trips or holidays – a positive activity to look forward to

  • Encourage team school sports

  • Encourage active playdates /games

  • Take pause breaks from school work or screen time – be the example!!!!

  • Laugh out loud more 😊

Let us never forget our inner child, let us rather nurture it.

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