Fitness program for kids has been a hot topic in recent years. With schools and enrichment institutions calling parents’ attentions to their versions of fitness programs for children – Kids Taekwondo, Kids Gymnastics and even Kids Mixed-Martial Arts, it is easy for parents to get lost in those myriad of programs. What is the best way for you then, as a parent, to identify the fitness program that suits your child best? Here are 4 pointers to help you make that decision.
1. Your child has to ENJOY it
Fact: Your child’s perceptions of a specific area or topic in the future are determined by the positive or negative memories forged now. In this context, this means that the more your child enjoys the fitness courses, the more likely he or she is inclined to pursue a lifestyle of fitness in the future. If your child is not enjoying the program and repeatedly complains or dreads going to class, there is a good chance that he/she is not in the right fitness program for him/her.
2. The program has to be SUITED to your child’s character
The fitness or enrichment program has to be tailored to suit your child’s character. For example, sending an introverted child into a highly extroverted program so as to “force them out of their shells” might do more harm than good if the instructor or coaches fail to identify the nature and varying needs of each individual child. It is best to find a program that has instructors or coaches who can do so; who can ensure that there is a smooth transition for your child into the class setting. Such coaches would be able to harness the energy from the extroverts and weave in the introverts at the same time, creating a holistic environment for your child to enjoy the program.
3. The level of ACTIVITY of your child and the demands of the program has to match
It is a common misconception that all children are hyperactive or have boundless energy. Truth is, some children tire out faster than others, and when that happens, their level of participation in the program tends to decrease dramatically in that session. If they repeatedly struggle to keep up, they might develop a dislike towards the program. As such, it is imperative to find a program that balances the physical challenges with your child’s ability to keep up with it so that your child is able to grow stronger.
4. FAIR PLAY in the program
Fair play does not just apply to children during the workout; it applies to parents and coaches as well. How the child is treated during and after the program can have lasting effects on his/her confidence. An atmosphere that promotes fair play is fun and educational, and is likely to produce a healthy self-esteem in children. Conversely, an atmosphere that thrives on dishonesty and unfairness is negative, critical and can hurt the child's self-esteem. It is therefore important to find a program that promotes an environment that helps your child follow a philosophy of "fair play”; one that also teaches about respect for peers and coaches.
I hope these 4 pointers can help you find the best fitness program for your child. Remember to let them have fun! Ultimately, the end goal for your child is to grow not just physically but also mentally and emotionally in the programme.
If you're not sure where to start, come check out Innervate CrossFit Kids and Teens!