The Final Post #AreYourKidsActiveYet?

Throughout the past 6-8 weeks I’ve been advocating the importance of keeping your children active in order to develop those all important, physical, social, mental and intellectual skills they need to excel in life. I hope you’ve enjoyed following this campaign and found my posts to be insightful, and helpful when choosing the right sport for your child.

I’m going to end today on a personal favourite activity – literally anyone can do (well anyone who owns a dog). Yep you guessed it, dog walking. For me, walking my dog was an excellent stress reliever and form of exercise – not only for me, but also my dog. The great thing about dogs is that they are always SOOO excited to go for a walk, even if it’s only a short trip around the block.

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“I’m so ready for this walk,”


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“Let’s go,” he says.

Dog walking is also something you can get your children to do, it’ll teach them to be responsible, and courteous as well as encouraging them to get outside for 20 minutes, every day. But guys, lets be realistic – don’t let your 7 year old take the reigns if you have a St Bernard or Mastiff, guaranteed the dog will be the one taking your kid out for a walk. Be reasonable, remember, there are two lives at “risk” here – maybe start out walking as family and letting your child have a turn of leading, and when they’re comfortable being in control of the dog, that’s when you can let them go off and do their own thing.

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We like to walk. Walking is fun.

On that note – I think it’s time for me to sign off. Remember to keep your children healthy and #GETACTIVE

 

Nyssa

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Little Athletics Makes Little Athletes.

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For a while now, I’ve been posting tips and ideas as well as insights into sporting activities your children can get involved with. If you’re still not convinced, then why not try Little Athletics.

As a mixture of individual and team sports, Little ‘A’s’ is a great way for your children to develop those all important physical and intellectual skills.
Through a multitude of track and field activities, Little A’s provides a platform for your child to grow, and practice skill after skill. There’s an endless list of athletic options for your child to excel in, including long distance running, sprint, hurdles, long jump, high jump and javelin.

Little A’s provides your children with opportunities to compete against their friends, which inevitably pushes them to work harder in perfecting their skills and gaining confidence in something that they enjoy. Like swimming, athletics is a sport your child can practice for life, and Little Athletics is a great starting point.

So why not give it a go? Head down to your local club today to find out more information on Little Athletics and whether it’s right for you, and more importantly, your child.

Nyssa

The Benefits of Playing Team Sports.

For a while now, I’ve been trying to raise the awareness of how important it is to keep your children active. I’ve been providing multiple options of things that you can do if your child is not overly adventurous in the sporting world. But now it’s time to get down to business and talk sport.

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There is a plethora of team sports for you and your children to choose from, and decide which is best for your child. From more full on, contact-heavy sports, such as rugby, to high-pace, non-contact sports, like netball, there is something for every kid. Teams sports are great for developing your childs social skills, and their ability to work successfully within a team (which they are guaranteed to have to do many times in their adult life).  These leadership qualities, along with basic, respect for others and co-operation, are highlighted in team sports, and fundemental in achieving the end goal – whether that be to win, or to simply have fun.

Another great thing about team sports is that they are graded by age, and ability, so there is no need to worry that your children will be pitted againt another who may more proficient in the sport than they are. This system encourages your child to aim to better develop their skills by moving up grade divisions.  Furthermore, if your child isn’t into all the ‘competitiveness’ of team sports, but still enjoys playing within a team, placing them in a lower grade may eleviate the pressure of competition.

Finally, probably one of the most important benefits of team sports (well in my eyes anyway), is the physical benefits. Team sports will help your child maintain their fitness levels on a weekly basis. No doubt a sporting club will have training sessions through the week ahead of the weekend matches. These training sessions breakdown the sport, and teach children the skills they need to be successful on the feild. Sport helps to improve co-ordination skills, endurance and initiative. Depending on which sport you choose, there may be multiple positions, or roles within the team, your child can take on and further enhance their skills and knowledge of the sport.

So why not give it all a go? The summer season has already begun, but there’s plenty of time to start considering registering your child for the upcoming winter seasons. Sport doesn’t have to always be about exercise. It’s about going out, having fun, improving your skills and doing your best – all of which can be achieved in team sports.

Nyssa.

The Karate Kid

Smack, crash, kick – hiyaaaaaaaaaah. Here come’s the Karate Kid.

Source: Flickr
Source: Flickr

No, not the movie – I’m talking about your child. Children love to play fight, whether they’re being pirates, soldiers or karate experts, so why not take advantage of that?

Have you ever considered martial arts as a form of activity, that your children can participate in? Wether it’s karate, jujitzu, judo, tae-kwon-do or capoeira, martial arts has plenty to offer in terms of discipline, fitness and self-defense.

Martial arts is all about empowering your children, developing their self-esteem and self-confidence as well as increasing stamina and endurance. If your child suffers from low self-esteem issues, martial arts is the perfect sport for them as it encourages personal growth while keeping their fitness levels up. Because of the hierarchical progressive system, children are able to learn at their own pace, and there is no pressure to perform at the same level as other children.

Not only is martial arts great for improving your child’s physical health, but it teaches self-discipline – which is important for mental development and all-round behaviour. Through interactive team-work exercises and games, martial arts teaches children the important life qualities of respect and responsibility.

Furthermore, the best benefit of martial-arts is self-defense.  In an age of bullying and violence, children need to be able to physically defend themselves from harm. These skills are taught in martial arts classes, and are extremely important for your child’s development.

So why not give it ago? Who knows, maybe you’re the parent to the next Karate Kid.

 

Nyssa

 

4 Tips for Encouraging Your Sport Hating Children to get Active.

Encouraging your children to practice a sport, learn new skills and improve their fitness levels is really important for their physical development and has many intellectual benefits as well. But, if you’re tired of nagging your children to go outside and play, or you’re stuck for more tips on getting them off the couch – then tune in. This blog post will be your saving grace.

 

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Is this your kid?
  1. Practice skills at home with them.

Many children may not want to participate in sport (especially team sports) because they’re still developing basic skills and do not have the attention span to comprehend the rules of a game. By practicing with your children at home, not only are you spending quality time with them, but you are providing them with a safe environment to learn skills and gain confidence.

2. Shopping around to find the right sport with your child.

Perhaps the reason your child ‘hates’ sport, is because they haven’t found the right one for them. For some children, team sports can become too competitive and so they lose interest, or feel too much pressure to actually enjoy the sport. If you take the time to find a sport your child enjoys, they’re more likely to want to participate in the sport themselves, without you nagging, and constantly reminding them to go outside.

3. Choosing an individual sport over team sports.

For children who absolutely hate team sports, don’t give up on them. Encourage them to take up individual sports, where they can practice and develop their skills at their own pace. There’s a wide variety of individual sports that your child can participate in ranging from dance, to horse riding, and even trampolining. A benefit of individual sports is that many of them, skateboarding for example, hide the fact that it actually involves exercise. Your child will have loads of fun, while keeping their fitness levels up.

4. Supporting your child.

This, final tip, goes without saying. Supporting your child with whatever choice they make is of utmost importance. Staying open-minded, and patient is really important when it comes to encouraging your child to get active, and to stay interested in a particular sport. It may take a while, but if you’re behind your child every step of the way, they’re more likely to succeed in the sport of their choice.

So whatever sport your child decides to take up, make sure that you practice with them, and support them 100% in order to keep them interested, and off the couch.

Nyssa

 

Why Your Child Should Join Scouts – Part 2.

Ok – so here we go. Part 2 of ‘Why Your Child Should Join Scouts’. Again, having been in scouts my entire life, I have very strong opinions on the matter. I’m going to break this post down into two parts, 1. social benefits and 2. intellectual benefits, and then it’s all up to you.

  1. Social Benefits:

Scouts is similar to any other youth organisation, or sporting team. It’s somewhere your child will be accepted for who they are, where they will feel comfortable and where they will grow. From a young age, children in scouting are exposed to other people (children and adults), and therefore their social skills will begin to develop, while forming strong and close friendships with the other children around them. I know, from my personal experience in scouting, that the bonds you make, really are forever. (Sounds cheesy, I know – but the friends I have made through scouting have stayed in my life – unlike the ones I made in school).

There is also ample opportunity for your kids to meet other children from across Australia, and the world, in what is known as a Jamboree – this is basically a massive, two-week long camp, where Scouts from all over the country/world, can attend, and do awesome activities (refer to Part 1) and just have a great time surrounded by their friends and learning new things from other Scouts. When I went to a Jamboree in 2010, I met Scouts from Fiji and they taught us some interesting, and very different skills that they had learnt in Scouts.

2. Intellectual Benefits:

As previously mentioned, Scouts is the largest youth movement in the world that welcomes everyone, and anyone. Scouts teaches so many important life/intellectual skills, such as initiative, responsibility, respect, independence, and so on.  I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for the life lessons that my leaders, and fellow scouts have provided me with. For a child, there is nothing more important that development, and scouts provides this on so many levels. Sure, it might not turn your child into Albert Einstein, but it sure will encourage him/her to do so.

So why not give scouts a go? Call up your local scout group to find out more information on when their meetings are. I promise your child will have a blast.

 

Nyssa.

Why Your Child Should Join Scouts – Part 1.

Yes, this is part 1. Yes, this is something I feel incredibly strongly about. And yes, this blog post is split into two.

For the most part, I’m splitting this post in half really because I have a lot to say, and it’s probably a better idea to do two posts to help you, so that you don’t have to sit and read while I ramble on for days – because I could do that you know.

Ok so let’s get down to business. Scouts. IS. AMAZING. I joined when I was seven years old, and as the largest youth movement worldwide, it was the best decision I ever made.
In this blog post, I’m mainly going to be discussing the physical benefits that the Scouting movement has to offer your child. Part 2 will highlight all the social and intellectual benefits that a child will gain from participating in Scouts.

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Source: Scouts Australia, Western Australia Branch

Now, just a quick breakdown of how Scouts works. There are five main sections: Joeys (6-8), Cubs (8-11), Scouts (11-15), Venturers (15-18), and Rovers (18-26). Scouts is accepting of any child, boy or girl (this is not America people, do not let Hollywood define your idea of scouts). Each scout group differs as to when they let a child start in each section, for example, some groups will let a child join cubs and 7 1/2, or will let a child move into the proceeding group 6 months prior to turning the specific age. It depends on the child, and if they ‘ready’ to move up into a new group.

I said I would discuss all the physical benefits of scouting in this post and I promise I will deliver. Scouting is probably one of the most active ways of life I can think of. Scouts offers an endless possibility of adventurous activities that your child can participate in ranging from: swimming, canoeing, rock-climbing, abseiling, bush-walking, hiking, camping, cycling and so on.
Each section meets on a weekly basis, and will program activities that the children are interesting in doing, as well as activities that will challenge your child, generating new experiences and learning opportunities. Some of these activities may include, construction, first aid, high ropes courses, community service and so on.

Scouting is a great way to keep your children active, as well as their minds creative. Scouts has plenty to offer, even the most inactive children will gain something from scouts. This is because it’s not just activity after activity. It’s also a movement that encourages creativity, personality and the development of important social and life skills. Scouts allows kids to grow, and teaches them responsibility and respect – these are just some of the things I will discuss in Part 2 of ‘Why Your Child Should Join Scouts’

 

Nyssa

3 Awesome Bike Rides for you and your Children

Last week I offered up a few links for local walks you can check out with your children. I hope you all did, (let me know what you think in the comments section below) This week, I encourage you to get out there and check out some of these bike trails with your kids. Bike riding is loads of fun (and super intense fitness), and something I always enjoyed doing with the family on a Sunday arvo.

Prêt pour le départ / Ready to ride
Source: Flickr – https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4148/4960579737_5ed6d9a186_b.jpg
  1. Narrabeen Lagoon Bike Trail – Narrabeen 

This is one of my favourite pathways. I suggested it before in my previous post, but honestly it’s one of those all round shared pathways that are enjoyable for everyone. You can walk it, run it or cycle it. There’s plenty of places along the way to stop for a picnic lunch (or a sneaky ice-cream) and it serves to be a great family day out.

2. Sydney Olympic Park – Homebush 

There’s plenty of sites to see at Sydney Olympic Park, and by cycling you can avoid heavy traffic, and parking fees. With over 35km of pathways to explore, there are endless possibilities for you and your children to partake in. If you’re more inclined to take a safer option (for littlies) there are children’s pathways inside Bicentennial Park for your kids to zoom around on.

3. Terrey Hills BMX Track – Terry Hills 

An option for older kids who think that bike riding on flat, concreted pathways is SOOOOOOO LAME. Terrey Hills BMX track is located on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and is a great track for, older kids to explore and chill out with mates. There’s plenty of jumps and bumps along the track that will challenge your child, forcing them to use those forgotten muscles! BMXing is fun, and great exercise for your children.

Summer of Swimming

Did you know, last year, 12% of all drowning deaths occurred among children between the ages of 0-14? According to Surf Life Saving Australia, drownings on Australian beaches and in our waterways is at an all time high – isn’t that alarming?

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As the summer begins, it is incredibly important that your child learns to swim. Not only is being able to swim a crucial life skill (esp. because we live in Australia, and hello we are surrounded by water), but it is also a cost-effective, low impact sport that your child can continue throughout their lifetime.
Swimming schools will not only teach your children the basic how to’s, but many are increasingly providing children with important lessons on how to rescue others and themselves from dangerous surf conditions. When I was in school we had many a Surf Life Saving lessons where we had to swim 100m with all of our clothes on, and practiced how to rescue people from the surf with various, yet random, tools.

But the most important thing that I learned from those swimming lessons was how to save myself from drowning – which incidentally, I had to put into practice a few years back. I probably wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t learnt those skills in swimming lessons, and Surf Life Saving courses.

However, swimming doesn’t have to always be about the beach. Squads (or competitive swimming) is an excellent way for children to keep fit and healthy, while socializing with others and competing in a sport. As mentioned before, swimming is a low impact sport, meaning that children who may suffer from hypermobility in their joints and other physical disabilities can also participate – although have you seen how intense competitive swimming can get?

Swimming is a great way to keep your children happy and healthy – regardless of whether they swim or sport, or just for leisure. Swimming is a vital activity and skill for all Australian children, so make sure your children stay safe this summer. Teach them to swim.

 

Nyssa