Inspiring Your Child to Find Their Own Movement Voice
Children need to find their own voice. This can be in terms of the choice of their own style in clothing, their favourite foods or in the way they like to move. Every child likes finding their own way of doing things, but it sometimes takes a while for them to do so. That being said, there a few ways that you can help your child in finding their own “movement voice.”
First, focus on building a solid foundation. By a solid foundation, I mean lifelong movement skills such as balance, coordination, and kinesthetic awareness. These are skills that even if your child is no longer doing the original activity/sport, what they learned is transferable to any number of new activities/sports. Think of them as long term investments, with huge upsides, no matter how long or short your child participates in them. Classes such as dance or gymnastics are great for these lifelong skills. Children learn in a safe environment which will allow them to test their limits and explore new ranges of motion all while learning how to safely fall, jump, and tumble. Or if your child is going to be around water at all (think boating, fishing by the river, or simply going to a birthday party at the pool), swimming lessons are a must! Pools are a great way to introduce water safety without being preachy, and giving your little ones a chance to be confident in the water in a controlled environment, a skill that many young adults make the most of on trips to the beach or abroad.
Second, be a positive role model when it comes to movement. If you are constantly complaining about going to the gym, your little ones learn that movement isn’t a fun thing. Which is terrible! But if you love going to your yoga class or Crossfit box, your child will pick up on how happy moving your body makes you and just might want to try it out for themselves. Personally, I grew up going to the curling rink two nights a week to watch my parents play, and because of how much fun I saw them having, I couldn’t wait to try it myself! I would practically beg them to let me try and throw a few rocks after their game. When I got old enough, they put me in curling lessons which made me think I was so cool because I got to do what my parents were doing. My parents made being active a positive experience, which has led to my life-long love of moving. Don’t underestimate the influence your relationship with movement will have on your children.
Third, think outside of the box! Not all forms of movement come from obvious places such as the gym, skating rink, or studio. Theatre productions offer your child the opportunity to move and be creative, without all the trimmings of traditional exercise, as they rehearse scenes, learn basic dance numbers, or build sets. There is a lot of walking done even during fun improv scenes, making it easy for your child to move a ton without even thinking about it. Even playgroups that offer your child a chance to free play away from screens are a great way to get kids moving without them really thinking about it. Because we all know it takes serious effort to make-believe running a hospital for stuffed animals or building the tallest tower ever from blocks. Groups are regularly run at the community centre, library or Fernie Family Centre, check out the weekly events calendar in this magazine for times and dates.