Many studies have demonstrated the fact that including more physical activity in children’s daily schedule may help them focus. I am sure you have heard the expression a healthy mind in a healthy body. The nature of this expression becomes clear when we read about all the benefits children reap from physical activity. Among other things, physical activity can be helpful for the development of strong bones and muscles, increase endurance, and improve self-esteem. Certain studies have also highlighted the fact that it is easier for children who are in better physical condition to make decisions, plan, and follow instructions.
Take a few minutes to examine your day. Do you think children have sufficient opportunities to be physically active? Can you compare the time children spend sitting down and the number of opportunities they have to run and jump for example? Like adults, children are all different. Some adults need to be more active while others are more sedentary. Personally, I have a strong need for physical activity. There’s nothing like a thirty-minute run to increase my productivity at work. The same is true for children. The more they move during the day, the easier it is for them to focus and remain seated, for example at lunch time or during story time.
I would like to act as a spokesperson and convince you to include more physical activity in your daily routine. I even encourage you to be active with your group. It will be a win-win, trust me. Here are a few simple ways to get children to move more.
- Make sure children have time to play outside every day.
- Add stretching exercises to your morning routine to help each child’s body wake up. Once their body has had the opportunity to be active, their brain will have the ability to concentrate on a more sedentary activity.
- Encourage children to be active when they are moving from one area to another within your daycare. For example, have them imitate different animals, hop, etc.
- Every day, especially when it’s raining, be sure to include one high-energy activity. The possibilities are endless.
- Before sitting down for an activity for which children will need to focus, take a few minutes to stand up and perform a few stretching exercises. Afterwards, children will be able to concentrate on the task at hand.
- If you have enough room within your daycare, set up an “active play” area. Add cushions, mats, balls, hula hoops, etc. Any equipment or material children can use to release their extra energy should be in this area.
1, 2, 3…move!