Where did that time go? It seems like yesterday you were changing nappies and hand feeding your child and now they are full time at school! Hands up if you dislike that “letting go” feeling. I’ve got both of mine up. The journey to independence has well and truly begun, which as a parent I absolutely understand, but to be honest I don’t really enjoy.
So, as your little one starts to live slightly more independently, what is required from them to do?
Carrying their school bag around.
Your child’s bag may weigh anywhere between 15%-25% of their body weight. Think about that for a second. Let’s say you weigh 60kg. You would be picking up, wearing and walking with a 15kg load. Have you ever worn a 15kg weight vest? Or picked up a 15kg ball? It gets uncomfortable really quickly. This load is on your child while their spine is evolving towards its end point. If you little one isn’t strong enough, they will guide their spine to grow in the wrong direction causing terrible posture. Read more about good posture HERE. The below review also states “changes to gait parameters” which means carrying a back pack when not strong enough can change the way your child walks.
Helping at home with physical jobs. Mowing the lawn, washing dishes, shovelling dirt, pulling out weeds and putting washing away all require strength. Not only to be actually physically capable to do the chores but have the energy to want to do them. The stronger your child is the more energy they will have.
Play their sport well. A this age the competitiveness rises in sport which is great. Having a stronger core improves posture. Having a good posture allows muscles to work better improving speed, strength and coordination. All pretty handy for sport.
Being able to sit still in class and have the strength to complete written tasks. This workload goes up and up through the school years and being strong enough help keep children focussed. The ability to hold good posture allows their little body’s to function correctly. Alternatively, slumped shoulders, resting their head on one hand and a forward carrying head all take more effort. When their amount of “effort” runs out fidgeting and “poor behaviour” creeps in.
What activities are best to help your 6 to 12-year-old get stronger, I hear you ask.
Monkey bars, jumping, sprinting, hopping, push ups, squats, deadlifts, climbing, handstands, bridge, skipping, playing, pullups and rope climbing are a few to get started with.
It really is amazing to see how quickly children develop strength when moving with safe technique and doing it repetitively. Their little human body’s really respond so fast to the right exercise. It has to be fun for the child though. That is number 1.
I often get asked “how long does it take for my child to be strong?” My response is a lifetime. We are never done “getting strong” but we need to be strong for what life asks of us today.