children sport

5 ways sport helps children’s socialisation post-lockdown

After long periods of COVID inspired lockdowns, cancelled sporting competitions  and the absolute joy of schooling-from-home and online learning, it’s time to move children off screens and back out into the world. However, reframing our lockdown habits  (like pasta and chocolate with every meal … just me?) to be more health focussed isn’t just  about nutrition and screen time.  

Leaving the microcosm of home and moving back into the community and social  activities like school is proving challenging for some parents and their children. But for our  kids, these interactions form an important phase of socialisation, a learnt process which helps  children function positively as members of our community. And whilst digital technology has  certainly helped our children navigate their way through these Roblox and TikTok times,  nothing can replace the excellent socialisation face to face sport provides amongst their peers.  Here’s five ways sport is exceptional as a socialisation platform: 

  1. Friendship 

I know: PotatoCat444 on Roblox is absolutely a friend. But getting involved in  a sport provides opportunities for your child to feel a sense of belonging and  camaraderie computer games simply can’t provide. It also gives our children  another very important social circle of friends beyond school, whilst  

improving their overall physical health. 

  1. Sportsmanship

In the real world, we need our kids to be able to cope with losing. We don’t  always win every ‘robust discussion’ we engage in or come first in every class  or quiz at school. Learning to be socially gracious when we have lost is not  just about their wellbeing, but for those playing along as well. And you  guessed it, sport is an excellent way to develop this skill. 

  1. Learning there are rules

As a parent, being the ‘referee’ and ‘coach’ can get a little tedious: more  learning-from-home anyone? But knowing about and following rules is a big  part of becoming a positive member of society. Sport helps this fundamental  skill through following the rules of a game, taking directions and accepting  decisions from experienced and enthusiastic coaches and referees. You can  start this kind of socialisation from a very young age with classes aimed at  hand-eye-ball coordination, along with the skill of following an idea or  instruction like those offered at My First Gym. Our My First Ball Sports  class is a fantastic example of how to get  the ball rolling on rules and skills. 

  1. There’s no ‘I’ in team 

Being part of a team working toward a common goal (or try!) is a key  socialisation benefit of being involved in sports. Our My First Gym Fit Club class is a great example of how to  introduce kids to this concept and is especially good for those thinking about  organised team sport for the first time. It’s a team-based approach to fitness  which builds a sense of community, camaraderie and develops communication skills and respect for their teammates and coaches: all transferable socialisation skills.

  1. Resilience 

It’s a buzz word, but it’s a very important one: resilience develops when kids  experience challenges and they learn to deal with them positively. In sport you  can win, lose and have decisions go against or for you, all in a matter of  moments! Moving back into the ring after a tough martial arts spar and being  able to shake the hand of a winning opponent are wonderful resilience building experiences. Doing so in a supportive, safe and respectful environment like those we provide at every My First Gym is a wonderful foundation upon which to build  their social relationships outside of sport. 

Giving our children opportunities process socialisation in a space that is fun,  supportive and respectful is absolutely crucial as we adapt to this post-lockdown world. Sport  is an excellent way of combining all of these with extra and obvious benefits to their  improved overall wellbeing and physical health. And you can’t do that on a screen! Get your  kids involved in sport today: My First Gym is a great  place to start! 

 

 

About the author

Erica Newton

As a founder My First Gym, Australia’s only gym network aimed specifically at developing children’s fitness and their love of movement, to say Erica Newton is passionate about getting kids healthy would be an understatement. With three young children, like most young mums, she is heavily invested in their health and wellbeing. She could see that whilst sport and movement were present in their school’s curriculum, she also knew it wasn’t enough to keep them fit and healthy.

She wanted a space where children were inspired to move in a fun and positive way, but immediately came up against those pain points most parents of young children develop. The standard sports organisations had value, but the uber competitive nature of them, even for her three-year-old, didn’t align with her values of building confidence and self-esteem through positive physical play. And as a family, placing three children in those sporting activities each enjoyed was not only a strain financially, but on Erica herself. Fulfilling the roles of Mum’s Taxi, Roving Snack Lady and Cheer Squad in three different places on almost every day of the week became almost impossible. She needed something very different, and the idea for the very first My First Gym was born.

Together with her husband Dan, Australia’s first dedicated gym for children was established in Hawthorn, Brisbane. Here, a timetable of classes spanning everything from developing fine motor skills in children as young as seven months old to those up to 15 years of age where offerings include Dance, Martial Arts, Parkour, Gymnastics, Ninja Warrior, Yoga and more. Affordable, conveniently located in one place and with an emphasis on fun, positivity and bringing out the best in every individual child. Membership works just like a normal gym, but for kids: there’s even an app and kids wearable technology to help them track their fitness goals and gamify their movement. The benefits to busy parents are enormous: convenient and easy in one location, a sibling-centric timetable, the ability to ‘drop and run’ while your child attends a class and even scheduled ‘date nights’ where the babysitting will involve much more than sitting around watching television! For Erica though, My First Gym is also a community where support, fun and movement for families are fundamental values, something this bubbly and friendly mum found herself looking for all those years ago.

Originally from the United States, Erica had an extensive career in childcare before a degree in business and an opportunity to study in Sydney, Australia presented itself. It was here she met her husband Dan in the fitness industry, whose own career had been heavily established in the fitness franchising industry. Together, they make a formidable team whose overall purpose is to ensure movement for kids is fun and positive, something they have absolutely achieved with My First Gym, with locations quickly popping up all over the country.

And whilst it’s hard to catch Erica of a morning between her own run, swim or yoga routine and getting kids ready for school, she believes balance is key to true happiness; socialising with the odd margarita or a cheese platter over sunset are two of her favourite ways to end the day! Contact: erica@myfirstgym.com.au

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5 rounds of

  • 5 inch worms
  • 10 push ups
  • 10 squats
  • 30s – 1min plank
  • 30s – 1min bridge