Movement is a powerful tool for developing the minds and bodies of young children. As a parent, you looked forward to seeing your baby start crawling, you waited to catch their first step on camera and you’re looking forward to cheering them on at school sports events. Reaching these milestones are all indicators that your child is growing and learning.
What you might not know, is that movement contributes to more than a child’s physical development. There are many other areas where movement plays an essential role in developing a well-rounded individual.
The Mind-Body Connection
Children learn through movement. For example, as your little one crawls towards their favourite toy, they’re engaging in active problem solving. They know what they want and they’ve worked out how to get it – without asking you for help.
In a more abstract way, children move their bodies to explore ideas. A little boy running around the garden with his arms outstretched isn’t just mimicking the movements of an airplane; he’s imagining what it’s like to be a pilot. He pictures himself looking down at the earth below and imitates the effect of braking to make a smooth and safe landing.
Physical play is how children learn about themselves and the world around them. Giving them the freedom to experiment with movement will stimulate their minds as well as their bodies.
Solid Communication Skills
Do you remember playing “Peek-a-boo!” with your baby and how they’d smile and giggle when you took your hands away from your eyes? You could tell that they were enjoying the game from the way they reacted – no words necessary.
When your baby turned into a toddler, you may have noticed that they would copy your movements. If you were making a cake and stirring the batter, they wanted a bowl and wooden spoon too. Copying a movement or facial expression is one way a child feels closer to you.
Children often use movement as a means of communication. Learning to read and understand body language helps children become better non-verbal communicators. Responding to your child’s gestures will give them the confidence that they are effective communicators.
Little children haven’t developed the vocabulary they need to explain how they’re feeling, so they rely on physical forms of expression. Sometimes, that means throwing a tantrum in the middle of a store while you’re out grocery shopping!
Your little one might jump and down when they’re excited, try and hide behind your legs when they’re scared or snuggle up to you when they need some reassurance. Allowing your children to use movement to express how they feel is important. It also makes it easier for you to recognise their emotions and deal with them constructively.
Strong and Healthy Bodies
It goes without saying that active children are more likely to be healthy. Study after study has revealed how important it is for young children to be physically active. In an age of cellphones, tablets, video games and the internet all competing for your child’s attention, encouraging them to be active is essential.
Physical activity builds gross and fine motor skills in children. Gross motor skills refer to movements that involve the whole body, such as walking, jumping, running and sitting up straight at a desk or table. These activities engage the large muscles of the body and develop core stability. As your child grows older, a strong core will help them cope with the physical activities they’ll encounter every day like carrying a school bag, climbing stairs and paying attention in class.
Fine motor skills are just as important and involve the co-ordination of small muscles in the hands and fingers. Drawing, painting, buttoning up a shirt, tying shoe laces, and writing are all activities that rely on well-developed fine motor skills.
Movement is the Key
Children who are physically active from an early age have an advantage over those who aren’t. They’re more likely to become well-rounded, well-adjusted adults with healthy habits for coping with the stresses of modern life. For a sound, mind, body and spirit, movement is essential.
Catrobatkidz offers you an opportunity to involve your child or children in classes that focus on physical activities designed to build strong, healthy bodies and minds. For more information on enrolment, click here or contact us with your questions.