Gateway Gazette

AHS Weekly Wellness News: Raising an Active Child

The ABCs of physical literacy

Did you know that helping your child develop physical literacy and a love of being active is a lot like helping them to become a better reader and develop a love for reading? Physical literacy is when kids have a wide range of basic movement skills and the confidence to participate in a variety of sports and physical activities. Just as we need to teach our children their ABCs and 123s, we also need to teach them the fundamental movement skills of physical literacy.

Some examples of these skills are:

  • Travelling Skills (climbing, galloping, hopping, jumping, leaping, skating, skipping, swimming, swinging, wheeling)

  • Object Control (kicking, striking, throwing, catching, travelling with something such as dribbling)

  • Balance Movements (balancing/centering, body rolling, dodging, floating, landing, spinning, stretching, twisting/turning)

How can you as a parent help your child develop these skills? Chances are you are already doing a great job helping your child to learn to read, so all you need to do is transfer some of those great parenting skills.

  • Make physical literacy a family value. Play as a family; learn new skills, activities, and games together.

  • Let your child do the activities they enjoy.

  • Find age appropriate activities. You wouldn’t give your 6 year old a 500 page novel to read, so encourage them to do activities they are ready to do.

  • Give the gift of play – swimming passes, jump ropes, hoola hoops, a gymnastics mat – anything that promotes activity.

  • Let them stumble. Let your child make mistakes and don’t force them to over practice. Support your active learner.

  • Set a positive example. Let your kids see you being active and point out that physical activity is everywhere.

For more information on physical literacy visit: www.activeforlife.com. For Alberta based health information to help you and your family stay well, visit: www.myhealth.alberta.ca.

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