Children have a huge potential hidden in them, which needs to be carved out by meticulous efforts. They are like an empty bowl; which we can fill with anything we want. Like learning, training is also a continuous process. In this article, I will be focusing on “How To Train Your Kids” having age in between 2 and 12 years
While the formal education of a kid starts around 3-4 years of age, but they start to grab things from a very early age. For example, parents start to test their kids’ reaction by calling their names, by clapping, by showing them gestures etc. But slowly, as the kid grows up, parents stop this activity. Probably because they think that, now onwards, he will catch everything on his own. Which is not true. The initial growth years of a kid are crucial and must be given extra attention, especially in terms of their physical education.
Before we move to the “why” and “how” of training, we must be aware of the growth pattern of a new born child.
What is Growth?
It refers to observable & measurable changes in the body. Its assessment forms an important component of holistic evaluation of a child and it provides information on his/her overall well-being.
To understand it better let’s focus on the graph below:
Neural Curve: This describes the growth of brain and the nervous system. Of the central nervous system, 95% is developed by about seven years of age. The shape of the curve suggests, early development of the nervous system will give children the opportunity to develop the movement skills of agility, balance, coordination and speed at the general training age. Fundamental movement and fundamental sports skills can, and should, be developed during childhood.
“WHY” should we train Kids:
In human body, central nervous system plays a crucial role. It consists of a complex network of nerves, which take signals to and from brain. Our body parts work only once they receive information from brain. Our reaction towards any stimulus would be as fast as the travelling speed of signal from brain to the particular body part.
This traveling speed of the signal, from the brain to the body parts, can be increased by continuous training of the kid. Our body develops new paths for the electrical signals to reach from source to destination in the minimum time possible. These paths can be developed through continuous and varied training. The more variety we bring in, in the initial ages, the better we get in our reflexes. It also improves our control on the body, our coordination as well as our decision-making ability
“HOW” to train your kids:
In general, we can broadly divide the training age of a kid in two spectrums. The pre-training age(2-7 years) and the training age(7 years onwards).
During this age the kid simply learns and tries to control the basic movements. These basic movements are: Running, Jumping, Catching, Throwing and Kicking. During this period we must teach these basic movements to our kids.
Below are few steps in which we can teach them:
- Running: Kids love to run. Take them to playing area, encourage them to run. Play different games which include running or simply just ask them to catch you. As they grow, make sure they are mingling with other kids.
- Jumping: Show them how to jump. Kids are excellent imitators, they simply do, whatever you do in front of them. Start with jumping on the ground, hop on the spot and ask them to do the same. Give them a small hurdle and show them how to cross it. Encourage them to run for some distance and jump in a sand pit. If you are at home, let them jump on the bed. But make sure, you give them a safe environment.
- Kicking: Start with a light and big ball. Keep it near their foot and show them how to kick it. Gradually, ask them to kick a moving ball. Pass them the ball slowly and ask them to kick it. Play the passing game. All these activities will give them a good idea about the ball’s speed and direction.
- Catching: Start with balloons and gradually move to the light balls. Show them how to catch it with both hands and let them try the same. Slowly they will develop a sense, that something is approaching me, I must catch it. As they grow older, they will be able to decide, when to catch and when to dodge.
- Throwing: Similarly train them for throwing anything. Give them any light object and let them throw it. Give them small footballs or basketballs and teach them to throw it with both hands. As thy grow, show them how to dribble it. Dribbling is one of the best ways to develop the hand eye coordination.
Apart from these methods, try your experience too. Mix things up, make the same activities more fun by adding few twists. Kids are great learners, but they need change. We must add variation whenever we see they are getting bored. Discover new ways to teach them the same skill.
This is the age to utilize the basic movements. There are several skills to focus during this age. For example, Speed, endurance, strength, power and agility. Let us see the below graph:
Skill Learning: As per the above table, children have a huge window of “Skill Learning” from 6 to 11 years of age. It means, till the age of 11, children will learn any new skill very quickly. We must try and teach them as many new skills as possible. This will help in building good neuronal variability. This kind of training will make your kid sharper and stronger, not any popular sports drink.
Speed Window: Similarly, children have “Speed Window” from the age of 6 to 8. It means, their Fast Twitch fibres will be dominating and they will learn to run faster during this age. This does not mean that they will seize to develop speed after 8 years of age. It only means that speed will be the predominant factor from 6 to 8 years. This way, the kid will have an upper hand over the kids, who would not have utilized this window.
But, then what about Strength, Aerobic and other factors? These factors will also be worked upon during this age, but their actual focus duration will come in later ages.
So, this was the brief description about “How” you should train your kids and “Why” is it important. I hope you would have found this article useful.
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