This is the first in a series of Premier’s Active April articles, showcasing a variety of ways to #stayactive.  Being physically active during this time of social distancing is vitally important so that we maintain good physical and mental health and keep our stress levels at bay. 

Being physically active is important for people of all ages, including young children.  Take our four-year-old son Alex as an example – he has gone from attending pre-school and childcare each week, with both programs offering excellent structure, social interaction and plenty of outdoor play to spending all of his time at home, with only mum and dad for company.

Since the current COVID-19 restrictions have been in place, my wife Jay and I have made sure that we have incorporated some form of outdoor play and physical activity into Alex’s day.  We go for a walk (Alex rides his balance bike) either before or after work during the week and often play games.  Since starting pre-school, Alex has come home with several games he likes to play with us, including chasey, hopscotch and bike or running races.

Twice each week we have been putting together a more structured physical activity for Alex to participate in.  The activity generally has a focus – throwing and catching, kicking a ball, hitting a ball, movement, etc.  As parents we are conscious that Alex is probably above average in some areas of his motor skill development and below average in others, and keen to ensure that when he eventually starts participating in sport, he is able to do so successfully.

Last weekend we played golf, which is a good example of a structured physical activity.  As a toddler Alex would spend hours playing golf inside with a set of plastic sticks.  For a period, he lost a little bit of interest but in recent times some of his enthusiasm has returned.  To play golf, we simply set up a series of games in the backyard, including hitting balls into a net, hitting long shots to the back fence and hitting balls into a hole.  We have a bucket of coloured balls and Alex chooses the balls to use for each game.  For completing all the games, Alex was presented with a trophy (he likes the Cars movies and Lightning McQueen always gets a trophy).

Coming up with structured physical activities for children can sometimes be challenging.  Sport Australia have a series of Playing for Life cards which parents can use, featuring fun and active games to develop children’s skills, confidence and lifelong interest in sport.  Click here to learn more about Playing for Life.

Our focus on Alex remaining physically active during this time of uncertainty has given our family something that we are all doing together and is ensuring we participate in at least 30 minutes of exercise daily.

Remember to register for Premier’s Active April, join a local team, check out the online workouts and don’t forget to # your posts! 

Andrew Milligan
Programs Manager