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The Importance of Parental Involvement

Discovering and trying new things together with your kids can make it more fun, engaging, rewarding and meaningful for all involved.


Bailey and Morley (2006) suggest that implementation, from an early age (6-7 years old), of a skill development program is crucial for a successful lifetime in physical activity. Some children have the opportunity to practice in organised sports or during their play time, but often, there are a number of areas of physical development that children miss out on.


As parents, we help our children with things that are important for their development and in areas they struggle with. This is especially true academically as we want to see our child succeed and make progress in core skills.


I believe children need to be guided and encouraged to try and do the things that don’t come easily. If a young child is struggling with reading or maths, what would you do as a parent? You would try to engage them in that subject and help them improve with the aim of preventing them from falling behind.


Children who find physical activity particularly challenging, may be put off by the fact that the only chance they have to engage in sport is in a public environment; PE lessons or clubs can heighten the fear of failure further.


So why is PE and physical ability not given as much gravitas as academic subjects? Parents, through no fault of their own, often miss good opportunities to help their child to succeed in sport. If they miss the chance to do this at an early age, it sometimes becomes harder to bridge the gap. The earlier you start, the easier it is.


Academically, I find that my eldest daughter’s daily schedule includes specific skills that she needs work on to improve areas of difficulty, or to progress further in areas she finds easy. This includes daily reading, learning her spellings and times tables. We factor these into her daily routine, but also place as much importance on the physical skills that she needs to work on. Short, sharp, daily interventions seem to be the best way to engage her and keep her motivated.


Looking at strategies to improve a child’s sporting ability, I believe it can be as easy as five minutes a day. That sounds simple but in reality this can be a tough task. Starting a routine and building a habit can be a great way around this. Children are used to routines and after a while this becomes second nature for them. To add in something new can take a while to become a habit but eventually it becomes second nature.


In order to help parents and children to schedule a Bear Essentials workout into their daily routine, we have created a calendar so that children can visually track their participation. We have purposefully included challenges for parents and children throughout the 30-day period so that parents can monitor how their child is getting on. A major benefit is that the child can see the parents are involved and engaged in this process too and are part of the fun.


Bear Essentials Sport App has not been designed or developed to replace a child’s organised sport or play but rather to work in conjunction with it to help improve a child’s sporting ability. With the workouts only being about 5 minutes long, and the recommended daily amount of exercise being 1 hour for children aged 5-18 (www.NHS.co.uk), the app can easily be incorporated and make a huge difference long term.


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