Some children seem born to run, jump and climb without fear. Others are a little more anxious about physical activities. Two children of the same age, from the same family even, may show a completely different attitude and aptitude when it comes to physical skills. Whether your child is a natural athlete or prefers both feet to be planted firmly on the ground, there are lots of things you can do to encourage their physical development without making them feel inferior to their peers.
This is perhaps the most important physical skill when it comes to keeping your child safe and encouraging them to leave their comfort zone. A child with good balance will be less anxious about running or leaving the ground! So it stands to reason that one of the most effective things to do when building up your child’s confidence, is to improve their balance.
To do this, create an obstacle course in the home or garden. This should include stepping stones which your child needs to cross. This might be as simple as cushions strewn across the floor, or you may be able to place blocks of wood along the lawn for them to make their way over. Add a story ? the stepping stones will be much more likely to capture their imagination if you turn the floor or lawn into a crocodile-infested river. Encourage your child to balance on a beam, made from a brush shaft or simple plank of wood and include places where they must hop or balance on one leg. When they topple over, reassure them. When they balance well, praise them.
The best way to help your child become stronger, faster or more agile is to get involved yourself. Instead of pointing out flaws or problems, make developing these skills fun by playing together. Kick ball together, stage family sports days with races and prizes or join a club together than allows you both to get active. Your child will learn from watching you, and will gain an understanding of the fact that everyone has to learn. If you have difficulty with a certain task, ask them for their advice ? get them to ‘show? you how it’s done. By turning your child from the taught to the teacher, they gain confidence and may surprise you how quickly they can come up with new and improved skills.
If you are very worried about your child’s physical development, then see a doctor to have your worries reassured. It may be that few simple examinations will be able to confirm that your child is developing normally. Try not to pressurise the child. Adding pressure will only make them see physical challenges as even more difficult ? they will add a fear of failure to any anxiety they may already have about getting active. Instead, make the physical fun, and enjoy building those skills together while giving your child the praise they deserve for their other skills.