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It goes without saying that children of all ages should remain active. An active lifestyle promotes healthy and happy growth in children and follows them into adulthood. All children should be provided the opportunity to understand the importance of a health-conscious lifestyle. Many parents have questions on how to introduce activities to their children.
How can I enroll my child in an activity if they have not shown any specific interests?
Children start forming opinions at a surprisingly young age. A child that enjoys listening to music or playing catch has already begun to form their interests. Sports like baseball and soccer incorporate stress-free and equal opportunity programs for all ages. Dance and martial arts also start young and make a fun and active childhood possible.
What if my child does not stay interested?
Young children can easily become disconnected from activities over time. The best way to promote commitment but also cater to the interests of your child is to set goals. If the child is old enough to express his or her opinions, then they can begin to grasp the concept of fulfilling a commitment. If you set a goal with your child of one season of a sport or duration of time for an activity, the child can gain an understanding of their dedication to the activity. When the time comes to decide to try something new or stay, your family can discuss the changing needs and interests with your child. Your child may surprise you and choose to continue or have new great ideas for themselves!
What if our family cannot commit to a continuing activity?
Many area programs offer camp-style sessions that limit the family contribution and time needed to participate. Look for week or month-long sessions for dance, martial arts or sports. Camps happen year round, not just in the summer months and are conveniently timed with the needs of families. Often they align with school vacations and long weekends.
What if it is too expensive?
Community organizations strive to provide families the opportunity to keep their children active even on a budget. Look for free or reduced priced programs in your area. Day cares, after school programs and schools may also offer included lessons and activities for a low or no additional price. For example, many of The Children's Workshop locations invite outside vendors to explore sports, dance and a variety of other activities within their daily curriculum.
What is the best form of exercise for my child?
Every kind! Providing your child with an organized and safe way to release energy and stay active is the only requirement. There are countless forms of exercise. Children can learn many lessons in health, commitment and belonging to something just by taking part in an activity. If you are unsure of the path in which to lead your child, try them all! Dance at home, visit a sporting event and ask local programs if they offer tours, visits or events that may spark your child's interest! Always include your child in the decision-making and express your support in their efforts and interests in anything they choose!
Mark Sullivan has been a Certified Teacher at The Children's Workshop since 2011. He has worked at five different locations in all classrooms. Mark is pursuing his certifications for Lead Teacher and Director as well as his degree in Education and Management. He lives in Providence, RI.