September is here and children up and down the country are now settling back in to school. Although many parents may breathe a collective sigh of relief at the return of some routine, it is important not to allow the school run and homework demands to stop children being active. During the summer months, the majority of children will have enjoyed many park visits, play dates and seaside trips. This is hugely important to growing children in their cognitive, physical and emotional development, and it is scientifically proven that the freedom to explore their environment while getting some much needed exercise enables our youngsters to thrive. Although UK schools do take pupils on trips and do their level best to get children outdoors as much as possible, the fact remains that for between 5-6 hours a day your son or daughter will be sitting down in a classroom.
We all know that children and sedate environments are like oil and water, they do not mix, and although children in formal education need to learn to manage their energy and excitement until they reach the playground, it can be difficult for them. Fidgety children can sometimes exhibit challenging behaviour as they are literally climbing the walls to get outside of the classroom, but there are way we can help our children cope with school routines while keeping them active.
- Hit the road
Many parents and guardians live within a one-mile radius of their children’s school, yet they choose to drive them there and back each day to make life easier. We understand that morning routines can be hectic for families, however walking, scooting or cycling to or from school just twice a week will increase your child’s exercise which in turn improves their concentration in school.
- Start a sports club
There are often many extracurricular activities for school children in most primary and secondary schools, so why not sign your youngster up to try a new sport for a term? Not only will this improve their gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination and discipline, it is a fun way to increase their fitness and make new friends.
- Pack a picnic
A great way to spend time with your children it to pack a picnic and head for the hills. When you collect them from school surprise them with an impromptu visit to a local park or woodland area to enjoy an alfresco tea in the wild. Kids need nothing more than a wide open space and their imagination to create a wonderland in which to play, and when fuelled by their favourite cheese and ham sandwiches they will be ready for any adventure.
- Plan ahead
There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing, so don’t let a spot of rain ruin your weekend plans. As long as they are dry, children will soon work up a sweat in even the coldest winter weather. Get yourselves kitted out in wellies and waterproofs and head outdoors to climb trees and collect conkers come rain or shine.