Keeping up the bounce when you’re back to school
Nothing is quite as thrilling — or challenging — as the beginning of a new school year. While your kids might be worried or excited about new friends and new teachers, they soon settle in. As the months progress, learning can become an effort or the words ‘I’m bored’ sneak into afternoon homework time.
5 tips on how to balance play and learning during the after school period, for happy and healthy kids.
School work and homework are key to a great learning experience, as well as a great discipline to have. Most kids favour playtime over study so balancing their afternoon with a healthy dose of both is ideal for their mental and physical development. Taking a break from homework to play outdoors burns off extra energy and gives them a chance to be creative while having fun. A trampoline is a great outdoor energy burner for the backyard. The more time spent bouncing, the more children develop their motor skills and coordination. A study done by Science Direct on the effects of trampoline exercise intervention on motor performance and balance found significant performance improvement in all post-tests that took place over a 12 week training program that included a variety of trampoline exercises. The results of the study reported improved balance and coordination ability of all participants. (Research in Development Disabilities 34 (2013) Science Direct)
Mix up the afternoons with a healthy balance of homework, playtime and household chores to keep the kids stimulated and energised and their little bodies and minds active.
2. Keep the imagination alive
It can be a challenge for a parent when the school lets you know that your child is not engaged at school or struggling with their work. Research shows that a good balance of left and right brain extracurricular activities after school stimulates the endorphins kids need to concentrate and have energy in the classroom.
This means less time using the tablet on the couch and more time using their imagination. Keep it simple - something as common as a large cardboard box can be a vehicle for some very creative play – a fort, a cubby house, a make-shift store, an animal cave. The options are endless.
3. Playdates with mates
Learn with your mates. Humans were designed for social interaction and peer to peer learning. Playdates encourage the growth of confidence as well as imagination. Afternoon playdates give kids something to look forward to as part of their back to school routine, especially as they are making new friends in a new class.
4. Learn outdoors
Some of life’s most important lessons are learnt playing in the backyard. Whether it be exploring nature and the circle of life or learning about their own physical capabilities. Dedicate a couple of hours after school each day to being outdoors, and if you don’t have a backyard your local park is great option!
5. Bounce then breakfast
The start of the day is often when kids have the most energy. Most parents will identify with mornings filled with lots of chatter and energy after the kids have had a good night’s sleep.
A bounce on the trampoline in the morning just before breakfast is a great way to get the blood flowing, burn off some energy and get them smiling and happy ready for the day ahead.