Family Health

6 Simple Ways To Support Physical Literacy In Kids

Nov 20, 2015

As parents, we can take some simple steps to learn more about physical literacy and encourage our kids to be active in different ways. We play a critical role in ensuring that our children are provided with plenty of opportunities to develop physical literacy. 

Remember: the development of physical literacy is ongoing. It’s important that parents ensure their children have access to a broad range of opportunities to nurture their development.

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Here are some proactive suggestions:

1. Start with yourself. Your child will watch and learn from what they see you do. Lead by example: show interest in your child’s physical activities and be involved!

2. Encouragement, regardless of your child’s rate of development, can go a long way in their physical literacy journey. Just as with numeracy and literacy skills, your child’s physical literacy skills development will occur at its own rate as his brain and muscles grow.

3. Expose children to a wide variety of physical activities, from swimming to dance to gymnastics, martial arts to team sports and more. Sports offer a multitude of benefits for kids and help provide the physical activity they need to grow up healthy. Research has shown that sports can improve kids’ self-esteem and reduce stress, anxiety and depression. And let’s not forget that sports are just plain fun.

4. Be an advocate for quality physical education at your child’s school. Speak with their principal and teachers about their plans for developing and encouraging physically literate students.

5. Create opportunities for active family fun. Make family decisions that improve and develop physical literacy. For instance, decide to go for an evening walk together instead of turning on the TV or burying your heads in phones, tablets or video games.

6. Work on fundamental movement skills, such as throwing, running, climbing, hopping, jumping, kicking, skipping and catching. Here’s a great example that displays the consequences of not developing your child’s fundamental movement skills.

Ted Temertzoglou was a Health and Physical Education Teacher for the Toronto District School Board for 20 years and has taught in the Birchmount Exceptional Athlete Program. Presently, he works with Thompson Educational Publishing, creating learning resources for Health and Physical Education and promoting the importance of quality daily health and physical education programs in schools across Canada. He is the lead author for many books, including Exercise Science: Introduction to Health and Physical Education and Healthy Active Living: Keep Fit Stay Healthy Have Fun, used in Ontario and New Brunswick. He is a certified personal trainer with The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiologist (CSEP). Ted was the recipient of the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association’s Outstanding Contribution Award in 2008. He completed his MA in Physical and Health Education with a research focus in student success and teacher-student rapport.

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