Erica Newton, MyFirstGym co-founder shares 5 tried and tested tips to inspire movement in the gym and at home.
After long periods of COVID lockdowns in New South Wales and Victoria, cancelled sporting competitions and the horror absolute joy of schooling-from-home and online learning, it’s time to move children off screens and back out into the world. However, reframing our lockdown habits (like pasta and chocolate with every meal … just me?) to be more health focussed isn’t just about nutrition and screen time.
Leaving the microcosm of home and moving back into the community and social activities like school is proving challenging for some parents and their children. But for our kids, these interactions form an important phase of socialisation, a learnt process which helps children function positively as members of our community. And whilst digital technology has certainly helped our children navigate their way through these Roblox and TikTok times, nothing can replace the excellent socialisation face to face sport with peers provides.
Here’s five ways sport is exceptional as a socialisation platform:
I know: PotatoCat444 on Roblox is absolutely a friend. But getting involved in a sport provides opportunities for kids to feel a sense of belonging and camaraderie computer games simply can’t provide. It also gives our children another very important social circle of friends beyond school, whilst improving their overall physical health.
In the real world, we need our kids to be able to cope with losing. We don’t always win every ‘robust discussion’ we engage in or come first in every class or quiz at school. Learning to be socially gracious when we have lost is not just about their wellbeing, but for those playing along as well. And you guessed it, sport is an excellent way to develop this skill.
3. Learning there are rules
As a parent, being the ‘referee’ and ‘coach’ can get a little tedious: more learning-from-home anyone? But knowing about and following rules is a big part of becoming a positive member of society. Sport helps this fundamental skill through following the rules of a game, taking directions, and accepting decisions from experienced and enthusiastic coaches and referees. Parents and Carers can start this kind of socialisation from a very young age with classes aimed at hand-eye-ball coordination, along with the skill of following an idea or instruction like those offered at My First Gym. Our My First Ball Sports class is a fantastic example of how to get the ball rolling on rules and skills.
4. There’s no ‘I’ in team
Being part of a team working toward a common goal (or try!) is a key socialisation benefit of being involved in sports. Our MFG Fit Club class is a great example of how to introduce kids to this concept and is especially good for those thinking about organised team sport for the first time. It’s a team-based approach to fitness that builds a sense of community, camaraderie and develops communication skills and respect for their teammates and coaches: all transferable socialisation skills.
It’s a buzzword, but it’s a very important one: resilience develops when kids experience challenges and they learn to deal with them positively. In sport you can win, lose and have decisions go against or for you, all in a matter of moments! Moving back into the ring after a tough martial arts spar and being able to shake the hand of a winning opponent are wonderful resilience-building experiences. Doing so in a supportive, safe and respectful environment like those we provide at every MyFirstGym is a wonderful foundation upon which to build their social relationships outside of sport
Giving children opportunities to process socialisation in a space that is fun, supportive, and respectful is absolutely crucial as we adapt to this post-lockdown world. Sport is an excellent way of combining all of these with extra and obvious benefits to their improved overall wellbeing and physical health. And you can’t do that on a screen! Get your kids involved in sport today MyFirstGym is a great place to start.