Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Get It In Gear: Raising mentally and physically fit kids

Looking for a resource that can build both brain and body power for your kids? I recently discovered Karen Ronney's book Proud Parents' Guide to Raising Athletic, Balanced, and Coordinated Kids. Lots of studies in recent years make the connection between physical fitness and brain power. When and where can parents get the ball rolling for their children?

Tennis pro, coach, and awesome mom, Karen Ronney, says it's never too early to play physical games with kids to help develop their bodies and minds.

It turns out, some of the stuff you have already done, such as, lively games of Peek-a-boo, popping your head up from behind the chair in the living room and clapping hands in Pat-a-cake rhythms and reciting rhymes, has already given your kids a leg up on the academic ladder.

In Proud Parents' Guide, Ronney gives parents over 200 games to play with kids, in less than 10 minutes a day, from birth to age 6. Play toss with a rolled up pair of socks and a laundry basket while you're folding clothes. Have your child stack storage containers on the kitchen floor while cooking dinner, and bowl the boxes over with a potato. Use all kinds of household items and simple play equipment that you probably already own to develop healthy bodies and nimble brains.

Ronney explains all the whys and wherefores for how games build coordination, develop "natural athletic talent" and jumpstart learning. The book is organized in two parts, the first outlining how the mind/body connection works and how kids develop athleticism and coordination. The second half lists games separated by age group, the level of difficulty, and the benefits your child will get out of playing - besides giggles and a great time.

Here's the best part: Ronney says it's never too early or too late to begin playing games with your child to get those mind and body juices flowing.

In the last couple couch potato TV and computer generations, not only have kids gotten pudgier, they've gotten slower. Schools are beginning to rediscover the physical/mental relationship and the lost art of PE, but we are a long way from regular physical exercise and practice in coordination in most elementary schools. For homeschooling parents, creating opportunities for physical fun and workouts is a must.

Check out the book on Ronney's website http://www.karenronney.com/

Whether you take a look at Proud Parents' Guide to Raising Athletic, Balanced, and Coordinated Kids or not, think of ways to support your child in being physically active. Less trips to the school nurse and more energy to make it through all the demands of the day make both parents and kids happier.

Do you have a fun idea for an activity that you like to do with your child(ren)? Be sure to share it!