Physical activity is critical to the physical, cognitive, emotional and social development of every child. There are several ways to promote physical activity at home or in the classroom including dance, sports, games and free play. Some children will be naturally drawn to these activities while others find it difficult to engage. Using positive engagement strategies in fun, playful social settings are key to promoting physical activity.
It is also important to know about strategies that are ineffective. Most of these involve pressuring a child to do an activity or taking physical activity away as a form of punishment, both of which develop a negative experience around physical activity.
Encourage participation using fun, motivational strategies. Allow them to be the leader, choose the activity, or call out the commands. Withholding physical activity from children deprives them of health benefits and the opportunity to develop fundamental movement skills necessary for a healthy lifestyle.
Teaching and practicing fundamental skills in early childhood years is the key to helping children gain confidence and skill development. Learn more about fundamental skills: https://extension.unr.edu/healthykids/pub.aspx?PubID=2927