Thursday, 29 April 2010

Childhood obesity – a weight off your mind.

Over the last ten years the colossal media publicity regarding the much debated topic of childhood obesity has seemed to die down somewhat, but the problem is not going away – if anything, it is getting worse. Recent figures from Canada suggest that 90% of pre schoolers are not getting the recommended 90 minutes of physical exercise they require each day. Increasingly sedentary lifestyles, the hectic pace of modern life etc all conspire to prevent us from ensuring that our kids have access to the amount of exercise they need. However a lot can be done, and we, at Little Kickers, feel it is our duty to help where we can.

Even the most proactive parents can struggle to motivate their children to get out and about. The lure of the Xbox is too much; Power Rangers is on TV, or the famous phrase “In a minute, Mum!” Trust me, this comes from my own personal experience. Now there is no excuse - summer has arrived. My official first day of summer is when my Dad’s legs come out in the o-so-very short shorts; admittedly my summer usually starts in February because of this! It was only today I was stood with my Dad wondering why the Frisbee appears larger the closer it gets….and then it hit me!

Apologies on the horrendous joke, we will move on. At Little Kickers we have the pleasure of teaching young kids football at weekly classes. Our experienced coaches deliver progressive and challenging sessions to aid learning and development of your children. Unfortunately, more often than not, we only get an hour a week with them. If we could, we would love to entertain them all week, but we feel we should allow you some time with them! We understand that Little Kickers has addictive qualities: our coaches, our games and the friends they make at the sessions, usually the hardest part of our sessions is trying to convince them that they need to go home!

Why not take Little Kickers with you? If you have a football, (if not we sell them on the website) why not find an hour during the busy week to go out and have a kick around. Some of my fondest memories as a child were kicking the ball as hard as I could at my Dad, he thought I was shooting; I was just waiting for the day he had to get out of the way from one of my shots. (If interested he moved when I was 13, on August 14th …true story!) I loved it, and I am sure your kids would too. Not only will it combat childhood obesity which, as mentioned, is an increasingly serious problem, but it will also compliment the skills they are learning at their Little Kickers sessions.

Unfortunately, the time we have available to spend with our kids is becoming more and more scarce as time goes by – the general stresses of modern life - work, chores, driving to and from activities etc, all conspire to prevent us from spending real quality time with our kids. I’m sure every parent reading this blog will have experienced their kids trying to copy what they do – pretending to speak on the phone or cook supper - after all, kids learn by example. Committing to taking just 30 minutes each day where you switch off the phone and tune out of the stresses of everyday life and focus 100% on playing physical games with your kids can have immeasurable benefits on their health (as well as your own!). It’s one thing taking them to activity classes so they can learn specific skills, but they are much more likely to view exercise as a routine part of their lives if they are doing it to mimic their parents.

There are a lot of things you can do; simply set up a target: a jumper, an empty flower pot etc. Compete against each other to see who can get nearest the target. Award points for the area the ball lands in. Why not play against each other? You will be amazed how competitive you get. Please be gentle with them, they are only young…performing celebratory dances after you have beaten them may damage their confidence somewhat! Encourage children to use both feet to kick with. Penalties are easy to set up, and siblings and parents can join in by going in goal, or help setting up obstacles. You’ll be amazed at how involved your children get in this type of game-playing.

With the holidays coming up, this is a perfect way to spend time with your child, doing what they really enjoy, leading by example and encouraging them to view sport as a normal, routine (but fun!) part of everyday life.

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