There has been a spate of articles published recently that remind us of a very important fact: children need to move. They need to move a lot; they need to move both in ways that are organic and joyful for them (climbing a tree) and in ways that are challenging for them (crab walking up the school stairs, as my son’s teacher has the whole class do occasionally).
If children don’t spend lots and lots of time moving (up, down, round and round, climbing, running, jumping, hanging…), they will move when teachers don’t want them to move (while sitting in chairs in a classroom) and then they might receive various labels– “disruptive”, “ADHD” and “poor student” being some of the most common.
What can we do to support children in getting the movement they need?
• Be active advocates for long and multiple recesses in our schools (15 minutes per day doesn’t cut it)
• When your children aren’t in school, make sure they have lots of free time to play outdoors– in a backyard, at a park, in a forest.
• Don’t be afraid of inclement weather! Invest in some rain gear/woolen under layers/sun hats and make sure your children get outside all year long.
• Get outside with your children (not always, they also need time to do their own thing outdoors): go for hikes, walk the dog, look for birds, walk across logs…
• While outside is always better, have indoor options for movement: a balance board, a mini trampoline, a trapeze or steal my son’s teacher’s genius idea: install an eye hook in your ceiling, put a carabiner through it, buy 4 yards of swimsuit fabric (stretchy spandex/lycra) at Joanns and feed the fabric through the carabiner, tying it in a knot to make a stretchy, bouncy swing.