How Often Should Children Be Active?
One of the questions I get asked a lot by parents when I was the Athletic Director of a private school is how often should my child be participating in a particular sport in order for him/her to excel? This question came from parents of students in the grade 1 all the way to grade 12, and of course the answer is different depending on age group.
For children that are younger, between ages of 4-7, they should be focused on developing their fundamental movements skills. These include basic movement skills, coordination and balance. These serve as a foundation for which the child can use to future success in different sports activities. To do this, children need to participate in a variety of different activities, the more the better. Sports activities are expensive, but children can also enjoy free play at the park, getting together with friends and playing a soccer game, or other playground games. The idea is that children need to socialize when playing, and to have fun playing these games so that they want to participate more later on. Even when participating in sport-specific programs, coaches should be focusing on developing these fundamental movement skills through the sport rather than the formal training of the sport.
So how long often should children at this age participate? The idea here is that children should be active every day. Relying on schools to provide these activities is not enough. Young children love playing with their parents, and a lot of times parents will say, ‘but I’m not good at sports’. I always tell them, ‘you don’t have to be good at sports, you just have to want to play with your child’. Spending that quality time with your child means everything to them, you don’t have to be an athlete to toss the ball or kick a ball to your child. They’re not looking for athletes to play with them, they just want to play with YOU!
So how much physical activity do children need? According to a public health document developed and posted on Canada.ca, ‘Children aged 5-11 should accumulate at least one hour of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.’[i] And of course they mentioned that more is even better. They also mentioned that children should be engaged in vigorous-intensity activities at least 3 times a week.[ii] They should be engaged in aerobic activities like running, basketball, soccer, as well as strengthening activities such as climbing, swinging, doing push and pull types of activities as well. Have children help out with household chores, what a great way to exercise while learning the importance of helping out around the house. My son loves to help me unload the dishwasher, and to help shovel the driveway, what a great way to get different types of exercise in, working on their gross and fine motor skills while at the same time learning about responsibility.
There are many ways to get children moving, TekyGo! provides one option where children can develop gross motor skills, coordination and balance. These are some of the important fundamental skills mentioned above. Combine TekyGo! with other fun physical activities and your child will be on their way to building a strong foundation for the future success.
3, 2,1, TekyGO!
[i] Physical Activity Tips for Children (5-11). (2019, 11-07). Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/healthy-living/physical-activity-tips-children-5-11-years.html
[ii] Physical Activity Tips for Children (5-11). (2019, 11-07). Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/healthy-living/physical-activity-tips-children-5-11-years.html