I am loving school but I have to say I was really surprised to learn the amount of physical skills that parents need to teach their children before age 7 to give them their best start. I’m not talking about putting them in elite soccer or getting them on skates before they can walk (though skating is a part of it) I’m talking about basic movement patterns.
These movements include:
- Catching Trapping
Sounds like a lot doesn’t it? But they don’t have to be experts at every skill, they just need to have a basic understanding of each physical skill. This sets them up for success in any future sport participation, PE class, and other physical activities.
Canadian Sport for Life has developed a wonderful skill checklist for parents that tells you the optimal age to begin work on each skill.
When I saw this all I could think was “I need to tell everyone I know!” I never did any sports that involved another object and as an adult I really struggle with softball, basketball, and volleyball.
But this can sound really daunting can’t it? Life is so busy and you need to teach your kids twelve movement skills. But it’s not too hard. If you teach your children games that incorporate these skills they will practice on their own during free play. As a child I was in gymnastics and spent recess practising my balance and monkey bars. Children aged three to five years should be active for at least three hours throughout a day in structured activities and free play sessions. If you do a few structured activities that teach skills, they will repeat those skills when they are playing on their own.
I am not saying you need to put your child in a bunch of organized sports but rather instead of playing tag, play hopping tag to work on their jumping skills. Next time they want to play with a ball kick, throw, and catch it. Hit the rink! And spend your summers swimming. You’ll be setting your child up for success physically if you do.
To read more about physical literacy and fundamental movement skills visit the Canadian Sport for Life website.