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!
Do children need chores? According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, young children who are given household chores “build a lasting sense or mastery, responsibility and self-reliance.” And what parent doesn’t want that for their child?
The article also found that those who began chores around ages 3 and 4 were more likely to have positive relationships with their families, higher academic success and were also found to be more empathetic and responsive to others needs. Need we say more? Check out these 5 ideas for encouraging your child to help out around the house:
To read the full article, click here.
The Little Gym helps kids develop social skills, which studies find may be the most important factor for long-term success.
Science has confirmed it: nice guys don’t finish last. At least not according to a new study which suggests that kindergarten students who display pro-social behavior may be more likely to graduate college and have steady jobs. The 20 year national study tracked more than 700 children from kindergarten through age 25. The researchers found that young children that scored highest in social competence skills, such as sharing, taking turns, and listening, were four times more likely to graduate from college than those who did not. The study also found that, in some cases, these types of social skills may be better predictors of future success than academic skills.
Positive social skills are something that can be learned and improved upon throughout childhood. Programs at The Little Gym help children grow and develop social skills in a fun environment that provides a different context for learning. Games are purposefully designed to enhance social development and the non-competitive environment encourages children to play with each other rather than against each other. Children learn to become more considerate of one another, more aware of the feelings of others, and more willing to work together for mutual benefit. These essential life skills help children learn how to interact in positive and socially acceptable ways which helps them become well-rounded little people so that, as research now confirms, they grow into well-rounded adults.
Good manners are not something that children will naturally pick up. Children need to be taught, reminded, and reminded again of the importance of having good manners. Good manners help children become well-rounded adults. The trick is to teach your child manners that are age-appropriate so they are able to understand why manners are SO important! Here are 6 manners that are at the top of our good-manners list.
Practice makes perfect – keep practicing and reminding your child of the importance of having good manners. Be repetitive, if your child does not say please then simply make them ‘say the magic word’ and they will begin to catch on! Often times role-playing is a great way to have your child experience the appropriate way to act in certain situations. Great manners go a long way and it is best to begin good practices at a young age!
Parents are a child’s greatest influence. As a parent, there are many things you can be doing to establish and strengthen your child’s confidence. Here are 6 tips for strengthening your child’s confidence.
Building self-confidence begins very early in life, it is important to set your child up for success. Use these simple tips to help your child become more confident.
Making friends as a new mom is not always an easy feat. It’s like standing in the cafeteria on the first day of school surrounded by strangers wondering where you fit in – but this time you’re at the playground, you have a baby on your hip, you just finished singing “The Wheels on the Bus” for the 1000th time, and you just want to have an adult conversation. Is that too much to ask?!
Whether you’re at the grocery store, the playground, or at The Little Gym, as a new mom you’re constantly scoping out potential mom friends, eager to strike up a conversation about ANYTHING. No matter where you are, making new mom friends does not have to increase panic or stress. Here are 5 tips for making mom friends with ease.
Finding new mom friends may not always be simple, but having one or two really awesome mom friends can make a world of a difference. So the next time you’re at the grocery store, playground, or even your local The Little Gym, don’t be shy – strike up conversation and see where it takes you! There are plenty of fish in the sea and soon enough you will have a group of great mom friends that will last a lifetime.