Physical activity and exercise are essential to your child’s development. Dr. Kyle Pruett, clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and member of The Goddard School Educational Advisory Board, offers four tips on how to encourage physical activity.
- Start with yourself. Set an example by being physically active, personally and with your child, and talking about how it helps you feel and think better.
- Encourage your child to pick activities that she finds fun, and then suggest activities that add something to it. For example, if your child enjoys running, ask her whether she’d like to kick a soccer or tennis ball while she runs. This can help children see how a supplemental activity adds to the fun as well as the ‘burn.’
- Whenever possible walk or ride (a bike or scooter, while wearing a helmet, of course) when you need to get somewhere nearby. Also, leave extra time to stop and smell the roses with your child. These simple times together end all too soon.
- Give children the space, tools and time to be physically active themselves and figure out what’s fun to master on their own. “I want to do it myself” is the battle cry of autonomy in these years and should be respected.