While children develop the fundamental movement skills of stability (balance), locomotion (moving your body from one place to another) and manipulation (the ability to handle a piece of equipment to achieve a specific outcome) at differing rates depending on experiences, it’s important they master these skills before they’re 7 or 8.
Top 5 Tips
1. If children miss this crucial window there is a chance they will never master them properly. This may mean they won’t be as physically active as they could be or have as many positive experiences with sport.
2. Overseas research from the US and the UK suggests that this generation of children will have a life expectancy five years shorter than their parents. This is the first time this has happened and is one of the reasons why we need to set our children up to succeed in and consequently enjoy physical activity.
3. The Get Set Go programme run through Athletics New Zealand is designed to help children acquire fundamental movement skills during this critical window.
4. When your child shows an interest in playing sport, ensure the experience is positive and age-appropriate so they’ll enjoy it.
5. Many sporting organisations have a modified form of the sport for children, e.g. ripper rugby, grasshopper tennis and future ferns.