As students begin to return to school, physical activity is a frequently discussed topic. Play is a huge part of child development and as much as kids may grumble and complain, gym class provides a lot of benefits such as breaking up the learning day, encouraging teamwork and social interaction, and contributing to academic improvement!
That's right - regular physical activity for our kids can boost performance on homework and tests. Studies have shown that regular physical activity can literally increase the mass of a child's brain. Exercise throughout the day is also used by teachers to help kids in the classroom. These "brain breaks" work with a child's natural attention span, need to expend energy, and give boredom a 1-2 punch! We've discussed before ways that we can work with children's difficulties in focusing especially when they're young, and to be understanding and accommodating. Brain breaks are another tool in your parenting toolkit to keep kids on track.
3 Exercises to Wake Up Your Brain!
- Jumping Rope: An activity you can do alone or in a group, jumping rope gives your child's brain a literal jostle. Group rope jumping encourages teamwork, and coordination and can be a lot of fun!
- Crab Walk: Fight the studying slump! Crab walking encourages a child's natural flexibility while building strength. You can challenge kids by using ankle weights or balancing items on a child's stomach. A good crab walk helps flip a child's perspective upside down.
- Go Run around the Block: Who hasn't had this yelled at them when they were a kid? But running has incredible benefits for the body, and kids seem to naturally enjoy cutting loose and breaking free. Normally we disapprove of running in the house so take this brain break outside.
What exercises do your kids enjoy? Every child likes to be physical in some way. To get started, identify something they genuinely have fun doing and incorporate that activity into their day. You'll both be happy with the results!