A Dad and Son with a soccer ball

Reading, Writing and Running: Why Physical Literacy is the Concern for Every Parent.

Australian children are not active enough.  As parents, we have an opportunity to change our kids lives for the better.

As parents, we are encouraged to read to our children from when they are babies.  The research demonstrates that reading to children everyday has significant and lasting benefits for their literacy and learning, so, we make time in our busy lives to share the joy of books with our little ones.

What is less highlighted is the necessity to apply the same principles of daily routine to “physical literacy”.  Physical literacy is defined as lifelong holistic learning acquired and applied in movement and physical activity contexts (www.sportaus.gov.au).  That is, it is acquiring and practising physical and mental skills in order to participate in and enjoy physical activity throughout our lives.  These skills may include running, jumping, catching, throwing, swimming, climbing, balance, speed and strength.  It also includes the confidence to attempt new activities, the ability to participate in group sports and the foresight to identify opportunities to enhance the safety of an activity.

The benefits of activity are well understood; chronic disease prevention and management, enhanced mental health and having the ability to make and achieve physical and participation goals (eg. Completing a fun run for charity).   Also well-known is the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle, often compared to smoking as a contributor to poor health.   Yet 90% of our children are not meeting the recommended activity guidelines (abs.gov.au).

As parents we can influence our children’s behaviors and perceptions.  By making physical activity a daily priority, we are demonstrating that physical well-being is as important to us as their academic performance.

  • Play physical games every day
  • Active transportation where possible (eg. Walking, bike riding)
  • Speak to our children about what sorts of activities they enjoy and why
  • Join a club or a team that encourages participation and fun
  • Discuss goal setting and help your child achieve it

Check out www.sportaus.gov.au for more info, then go kick a ball with your kids!




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