Why is exercise important indoors, too?
Probably you know it quite well. It's been raining so hard all day that you didn't dare leave the house. Somehow, the day has gone by with painting, crafts and listening to audio books and now that it's time to go to bed, your kids are really turning up the heat.
What's been missing? - Exercise! But why exercise is so important for our kids and why a lack of exercise becomes so apparent in the evening is what I want to explain to you in this article. I also have a few tips for you on how to keep the exercise coming even on a gray rainy day.
Table of Contents
1. what keeps children from getting enough exercise
Children have a strong urge to move from birth. Even before they have learned to even turn around, they can pedal like they are in the Tour de France. However, in recent years we can see some changes in children's environments that are counteracting this important urge to move. A large part of this is due to the steady advance of digitalization. Increasingly, even young children are engaging with digital media, whether at home or at school. Studies and, if we are honest, our own observations and experiences show that young children are being introduced to media such as tablets or smartphones at an increasingly early age and are learning to use them on their own. As a result, there is less time and also less interest in romping and climbing.
A less new and yet always topical phenomenon is the connection between an unhealthy diet and a reluctance to exercise. Foods with excessive fat or sugar can easily cause obesity, which in turn can make children less likely to enjoy exercising.
In addition, exercise needs space. As much space as children actually need to really let off steam, very few indoor spaces have it. Constantly throwing the rubber soccer ball, the toys off the shelves and the little ones playing tag are hard to keep from darting around the "home office." If you're one of the lucky ones with high ceilings, you may at least have the option of putting a loft or bunk bed in the kids' room so they can at least climb while going to the ceiling.
Research has shown that children's mobility has declined in recent decades and that even basic skills that seem simple, such as balancing, walking backwards or doing a somersault, are sometimes no longer learned at all.
2 Why children need a lot of exercise
But apart from the fact that enough movement is obviously important for our children's balance and a smooth going to sleep: Why is that actually the case? And what does movement have to do with our children's development?
Children perceive their environment through movement and sensory perception. Unlike us adults, who use our thinking and analysis to explain what we experience and see. Children need to experience their environment physically. Movement is therefore enormously important for children.
As can be easily guessed, sufficient movement also has a beneficial effect on physical development. It ensures the healthy development of muscles and organs, strengthens bones and boosts metabolism. Increased metabolism, in turn, increases cerebral blood flow and is thus conducive to language learning and enhances cognitive performance. Especially until the age of 12, the human brain is still developing strongly. Therefore, a lot of movement is especially important in the first 12 years of life!
With different movement sequences important characteristics are trained. Turning, bouncing and swinging, for example, train the sense of balance and coordination, and climbing develops an understanding of space. When moving in space, the child can experience himself as an individual, body awareness is increased, and thus a positive self-confidence and self-awareness is strengthened.
In addition, when playing and romping together, children also develop social skills, learn to share, compromise and help each other. Imaginative inclusion of the environment, for example the bathtub as a pirate boat, also stimulates imagination!
So: If we encourage our children to move more, we also ensure that they can develop in the best possible way! In addition, physical fitness leads to getting sick less often because the body is strengthened through exercise. In addition, children who get enough exercise are usually more balanced in everyday life. Exercise also has an effect on the hormone balance and thus ensures a regulated production of serotonin and melatonin, which plays a decisive role in falling asleep.
3. how we can provide more movement in the children's room
In the following, I would like to present you with some ideas on how you can encourage your child to have more movement, play and climbing fun in their own nursery.
Firstly, there are numerous ways in which simple materials such as cardboard boxes and cloths can be used to build imaginative caves, landscapes or castles that provide an exciting backdrop that encourages movement. Within this newly created world, different types of animals can act as characters, and by imitating animal movement, completely different parts of the body can be activated.
You can also organize explicit sports activities together with your child at home. In the last year in particular, the range of online sports participation courses for the whole family has multiplied. An additional positive effect of such activities is that you can practice responsible media consumption together with your children.
In addition, you can play tag and hide-and-seek, practice juggling or gymnastics, have lots of fun together and strengthen coordination, orientation and team spirit.
Another point where you can do a lot for your children's desire to move is the design of the children's room. On the one hand, you can install various climbing and play areas in the room. These include, for example, a cuddle corner, where they can also romp around and do gymnastics, a swing in the door frame or a wall bars.
All imaginable climbing utensils can be combined in an adventure bunk bed. Such beds are available with one, two or even three lying surfaces and can be adapted to the respective room according to individual wishes and equipped with everything a child's heart and, above all, their urge to move desires. The possibilities are almost endless and range from slides, climbing nets, swing ropes and plates to a steering wheel, a crane or porthole boards. This way, your child's room can also be transformed into an inspiring adventure land and invite you to move around!
If you want to turn your child's room into a climbing paradise on your own, make sure to buy only certified climbing equipment (e.g. TÜV) and to find out the condition and load-bearing capacity of the walls before attaching them to the walls or ceiling so that the swings and wall bars provide long-lasting fun and do not become a source of danger. In addition, for swinging playground equipment, you should first think carefully about whether the room offers enough space to swing far without bumping into each other.
If you decide on an adventure bunk bed variant, such safety issues can usually also be clarified in direct contact with regard to the individual children's room. As a rule, you do not need to worry about the safety risk of climbing, which comes from the daring of your children. The sooner they learn to climb in a safe environment in the nursery and under your supervision at the beginning, the safer they will be in kindergarten or on the playground. Plus, climbing in a safe setting is the best way for them to learn their physical limits and what they can handle out in the big world!
All images were provided by TAU for this article.