The importance of keeping kids active

I Want To Ride My Bicycle

Kerens nursery is based in Holland Park and is one of three Ofsted OUTSTANDING nurseries, owned and directed with passion by husband and wife team, Keren & Assaf Ben-Ezra. They share with us some interesting facts on the importance activity with children. You can read more about the nursery here.

Physical activity strengthens developing muscles and bones in children, it improves and enhances coordination, motor skills, social skills, and self-confidence. Therefore to say it is pretty important that children have sufficient opportunities to be physically active is an understatement.

For a while, there has been very little scientific interest in the impact of physical activities on children aged 0-5. Indeed it was assumed that children of that age where habitually active enough and therefore quite healthy. However, more recent research shows that adult chronic diseases have their origins in the early years.

It is now well accepted and documented that most contemporary children receive unprecedented levels of “screen time” via tablets and mobile phones of their parents and that in most cases gone are the days that children are automatically assumed to have sufficient opportunities to be physically active. It has now been recognised that inactivity during the early years increases the risk for health deficits in later life.

One of the basic assumptions in support of making sure children have sufficient opportunities to be physically active is that children who have been active in childhood are more likely to be active later in life which will create a lifelong healthy lifestyle that is likely to be modelled on to their own children as well.

Therefore, the creation of strong links to opportunities for physical activity for young children both at home and at pre-school is fundamental to developing active lifestyles for children and their families. To that end, local authorities require schools and nurseries to encourage families and children to journey to school or nursery by scooter, walking or bicycle instead of using their cars. Similar schemes exist for parents in their workplace, such as the Bike2Work scheme and next week we will all celebrate Bike to School day.

Making cycling accessible to young children is simpler today with the huge range of differing custom-made children’s bikes. With today’s’ new bike seats parents can safely take children as young as 12-month-old babies with them on rides. Then as they grow older the children get their own scooter, tricycle or bike with stabilisers and use it to travel to nursery or pre-school.

It has been reported by many educators that children who regularly walk or cycle to school are more alert and ready to learn than those who arrive by car. Cycling helps children to get to know their local area and feel part of it. It is an activity that spans the generations, with grandchildren cycling with their grandparent in a park on a sunny day.

For those reasons all nurseries and pre-schools are committed to providing ample opportunities for their young children to be active and interactive both indoor and outdoors. Good nurseries make sure that children go outside every day and plan activities for their outdoor environments to all their age groups in a way that maxims the opportunity for physical activities.

As parents, we must be vigilant in the face of the “screens inflation” and create and plan for the opportunity where our children are active. In order for it to be effective and be part of their routine, these opportunities need to be linked to something children do daily and what can be better than their daily journey to and from nursery or school. The positive impact it will have on both you and your child will be immediate and the skill of cycling you have taught your child will be cherished for the rest of their long and healthy lives.

As its bike to school day on Wednesday 9th of May, we wanted to share today’s contributing article by Keren’s nursery.

For tips on how to manage screen time, read our article here.