The times we are currently living in are far from the usual. Kids are not in school, many adults are not working, and people are distant (literally). With all the unanticipated free time caused by the pandemic, both parents and children may find themselves bored and wonder how they can productively spend their time. It is important for children to stimulate their brains and catch up on their growth and development now more than ever – the absence of classroom experience and social interaction will only slow down their cognitive development. Because of the pandemic, many are unemployed and poverty is on the rise. Many families can no longer afford tutors and camps to supplement their children’s education.
As a result of this new lifestyle, parents are forced to teach, monitor, and entertain their children from home for long periods of time. For parents with younger and less developed children it has been an especially challenging time. During a time when we have limited access to the world outside of our homes, many of us likely are not getting the exercise and physical activity necessary for our health and well-being. In order to fully take advantage of the extra free time, while maintaining productive learning and remaining healthy, it is a great time to get involved in a new sport or activity.
Although many children may be reluctant for even more change during this time, it is crucial that they continue to improve their motor development and cognitive development by exposure to new activities. Here are 3 of my tips to help encourage your child to get involved in a new activity:
1. Watch Others Play: Take your child to watch a professional team play or practice in a real arena or stadium. Watch a new sport on television – make it a point to watch together every night after dinner. Bring your child to their cousins/older siblings game. Let your child see other people having fun as they play the sport – this will get your child highly interested.
2. Let them Pick: Do not tell your child which sport to play or get involved with. Rather, let them choose which one interests them. Just because you were captain of the football team when you were in high school does not mean that your child wants to be either. Children do not always want to take after their parents footsteps. In fact, they often want to do the opposite. This is okay! In fact, it is completely normal to want to get involved with an activity or sport that is unfamiliar to both of you. Together you can bond over a newfound interest in the new activity.
3. Be Open: If your child is not the sporty type, that is okay! Do not push sports on your child if they are not into them. Instead, there are plenty of healthy and active activities to provide your child that will stimulate their development just as well as sports. For example, you may see if your child is interested in hiking, yoga, origami making, learning a new instrument, or learning to bake.
By Sophie Verra