What our children are telling us is important to them regardless of how insignificant it may seem to us. Kids always remember how we make them feel. Listening to our children makes them feel important, valued and interesting – allowing them to express themselves in a safe space. In years to come the opportunity we as parents can give them now to find their own voice and the ability to express themselves will stand to them.
For the 6 weeks I was there we talked about how everyone can improve their strength and flexibility and everyone can get better and better with time. I taught them that their only focus was their own ability and not to worry about what anyone else could do. Then I encouraged them to keep going, to keep trying and to keep improving
What we forget to do as adults is encourage the building blocks of fitness in our children as they develop. We also forget that the little things are the big things. It’s not about winning and being the best, it’s about seeing the success in being able to touch our toes!
In my role as CEO of RINKA, an organisation that actively promotes the importance of fitness being fun, I am often asked ‘Is competitive sport wrong for young children?’. My answer to this is always, ‘no, competitive sport is fantastic for the children who ENJOY it’.
In my opinion it’s all relative. Is competitive sport good for teaching discipline, drive, motivation, skill and technique? Of course it is. It is harmful for children on teams? Absolutely not, provided they are there by choice and love the sport they are playing. Is competitive sport suitable for all kids? No. Not every child has the drive to be the best and that’s ok!
However, regardless of whether a child wants to take part competitively or recreationally, the emphasis must be on enjoyment.
Focus on teaching your children the importance of family time, the magic of icy cold nature walks, the enjoyment of reading together, the wonderment of telling old stories, the sentiment of age-old traditions and the fun of starting new ones!
When it comes to your child’s diet and health over Christmas remember one simple thing – they can only eat what you provide. Their nutrition is in your hands.
It is vital that every child, regardless of their skill or ability, is given equal time and attention and is made to understand that the only person they need to do better than is the person they were yesterday! I hear so many stories about kids sitting on the bench, or kids never picked for the team and these stories often come from adults who have never forgotten how being left out felt!
How does confidence relate to health and fitness for kids? Well in a word, it is everything. Throughout our RINKA journey we have met children with every imaginable personality trait and those who lack confidence and self-belief are the ones who need the most encouragement.
Fitness isn’t something that should need to be ‘fitted in’ to a schedule. This makes it a chore – another thing to tick off an already very long to do list. Families and schools need to embrace fitness as a way of life. We need to focus on the abundance of benefits we gain from exercise and see movement as a blessing! Children are naturally creative and energetic- it is our responsibility as adults to provide them with the space to be so!
Free play is unstructured by nature and isn’t meant to be lead by adults. It’s a child’s opportunity to think for themselves and to do what feels natural and enjoyable and it most certainly isn’t meant to be passive – no computer games, phones or screens allowed!! Allowing children to get bored is very important. Let them feel the boredom and then let them come up with an idea themselves of how to overcome it.
One of the many benefits of being a RINKA instructor is the freedom to design life in your own terms. Many of our instructors have young children and didn't want to return to the corporate world of work. Instead they wanted a career that complimented their home life....
At the very beginning stages of RINKA, I had one vision in mind – a business support network that allowed instructors to focus on doing what they loved most, without the stress of trying to figure out all the other parts! RINKA instructors all have one major thing in common – they love to work with children! But that doesn’t mean they know how to run their own business or how to turn their love of working with children into a viable career. This is where RINKA steps in!