Teachers regularly tell us that three of the most important elements of school readiness are the ability to sit still, pay attention and stay focused. But did you know that being able to balance is critical to developing all three of these abilities?
It might seem a little odd, but the system that governs our internal sense balance also controls our alertness, concentration, stillness, and even our posture.
Ultimately, many parents are surprised when we tell them that balance underpins so many seemingly unrelated aspects of their children’s daily lives. But it is absolutely critical to your children’s physical, intellectual, social and emotional development.
This simple example from child development expert Gill Connell (author of ‘A Moving Child is a Learning Child’) draws a picture of just how important helping your child develop balance is, and how compromised balance negatively impacts our children's opportunity to learn and develop at school and in life.
“Think of trying to do everyday things like eating breakfast, riding a bike, or reading a book while standing on a tightrope. If you were always worried about falling over, how could your brain concentrate on anything else?”
HOW CAN PARENTS HELP?
Children aren’t born with a sense of balance. They need to learn it. And it is our responsibility as their grown-ups to help them with this critical foundation skill.
But how can we parents help! Children need to learn balance through movement, it’s the only way. That’s because balance is governed by something called our vestibular system, a sensory system that detects motion and gravity to create our internal sense of balance.
So, if balance is important, and it controls how well we can concentrate, be alert, and be still, then how can we help our children effectively develop it?
By developing their vestibular system! And, put simply, the vestibular system is developed through movement. Which makes developing it lots of fun!
Ever see a child spinning around in the park? Children seem obsessed with spinning. And hanging upside down. But did you know there’s a very good reason why? They do it because it feels good. And it feels good because it stimulates their vestibular system.
Make spinning, rolling, jumping up and down, and even going upside down a fun part of your play time with your child. Encourage all of this movement not just in their early years – a critical developmental period – but also past six, seven, eight and nine years of age. Keep on developing those critical systems as your children grow, and you’ll be giving them a great platform!
Our classes are designed to develop children’s balance and stimulate their vestibular system in the most fun way possible. That’s why we call our classes Serious Fun – they’re fun with a serious developmental purpose. Because we know children learn best when they are moving and having fun!
LET'S GET KIDS MOVING AND GROWING TOGETHER!
If you’re not a member yet and would like to be part of The Little Gym Godalming’s education revolution at Woodside Road, Chiddingfold, give our teachers a call on 01483 343 000 or email email@example.com. We would love to learn more about your child and discuss how we can help them develop critical physical, cognitive, social and emotional skills that will help them inside and out of the gym!