Dear Ms. FAN4Kids,
My son seems to have so much pent up energy when he comes home from school. He complains that he is sitting at his desk all day and does not get to move around, except for fitness days with FAN4Kids. He is the type of child who does better with activity throughout the day, but does not seem to be getting nearly enough movement or exercise at school. What can I do about this?
Sincerely, Lack of movement Mom
Dear Lack of movement Mom,
First of all, you are not alone! There are tons of studies that show you are correct and explain the importance and benefits of exercise throughout the day for children. Some of the many benefits of exercise during the school day are; students pay attention and follow directions better, learn more independently and solve problems on their own and fewer disciplinary issues. Even adults have a hard time concentrating and working their best when confined to a chair all day. It is amazing that we expect children to be able to focus and learn without any way to exercise and blow off steam.
We all know that 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous amounts of exercise daily is recommended for children.Is this really happening? Children spend most of their day at school, so it is important for them to get at least some, if not all, of the recommended amount of exercise during the day. How can exercise be incorporated in the school day? Below are ways that you can make sure this is happening at your child’s school…
1. Physical Education-make sure all students have gym scheduled as part of their day. Believe it or not, some students do not even have physical education at their school.
2. Recess-make sure all students are getting some form of physical activity for recess everyday. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics says that, “recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child’s development.”
3. FAN4Kids-continue to have and request to have more FAN4Kids as part of the school. Our program gets students and their families active through teaching fitness lessons, incorporating fitness breaks during nutrition lessons, leading structured recess and providing parent workshops and family fitness days.
4. Fitness Breaks-encourage teachers to include fitness breaks during the day. Giving up a few minutes of class time pays off well as students learn more efficiently and enthusiastically in class after they have had a few minutes of exercise.
5. School Wellness Council-this group is made up of individuals from the school community who meet to help improve the school’s health/wellness culture. Find out when the school wellness council meets and see how you can be involved.
Be an advocate for your children and find out if they are getting enough exercise at school. If not, speak up and suggest some of the above ideas. In addition, it is important to be a good role model and include exercise into your family’s daily routine at home.