By Natasha Steyn, MA Kinderkinetics
YOUNG HEALTH KINDERKINETICS
Wellness Centre Practice, 33 Dely road. Hazelwood, Pretoria-East
To be a parent is the most valuable job on earth. You get to make your child’s decisions. What to wear, which school to go to, what to eat and which sports to take part in. But this lasts only for a while. Soon they are all grown up and then they have to make their own choices based on the foundation (fundamental development) that was laid between the ages of 3 and 12 years. The super-hero stage! This is called physical, emotional and intellectual development.
According to an article by Professor Anita Pienaar; Kinderkinetics: Investing the total well-being of a child, from the North-West University, South-African health services currently spend 8 billion rand per annum, involving direct and indirect costs, on lifestyle related diseases such as heart disease and strokes. Prevention of these diseases is therefore just as important as the treatment. Research shows that these health risks are partly due to inactivity which already begins in early childhood although the consequences are only experienced later in life.
Physical activity and exposure to structured motor development programmes are critical in contributing to your child’s development and self confidence. There are four reasons why your child should get the necessary motor development and stimulation early in life: It contributes to healthy growth of the muscular skeletal and cardiovascular system; secondly it maintains an energy balance to ensure healthy weight; thirdly it is also important to prevent risk factors such as hypertension (high blood pressure); but the most important reason of them all is the social integration and mental health improvement. Learning how to adapt, adjust their own bodies and have fun being healthy.
The childhood and adolescent years are the best time to establish a positive attitude towards physical activity. This is why it is so important to enrol your child in a programme where they will get the stimulation and social integration they need.
The most important aspect when choosing an activity for your child to be part of is having FUN. If the child does not like the activity, the teacher or the environment the child might connect a negative emotion towards physical activity and may never take part in sports again due to bad experience at a young age. To associate movement with fun is a winning recipe.
Self-esteem can definitely be improved by taking part in physical activities. With our children sitting in front of the TV having misperceptions of what the world expects of you, it is important to teach them what they should expect and believe of themselves. “I can do this!” Yes, exercising should be challenging but the child needs to experience the feeling of achievement. They need to feel like super-heroes! Being capable of handling all different kinds of challenges the world throws at them in all aspects of life.
Start at home! Make it a lifestyle to be fit and healthy. Play games in the house to improve your balance; stand on one leg when you call the dogs for dinner! Ask a therapist to assist you with guidelines. Your child will never feel like a super-hero if you do everything for him! Make him believe he can do it! Be proud and make a fuss if they achieve a new goal!