Sara Smeaton has an entirely new outlook on how to raise active kids. A self-confessed “non-sporty mom”, she was resigned to the fact that her two children might never learn how to throw a ball properly or confidently participate in any sports. After one year with Active for Life, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting kids’ movement skills, now she knows better.
“Like most people, I used to think that kids just naturally learned these skills as part of growing up, or they were naturally sporty,” says Smeaton. “When I started learning more about physical literacy, I realized that wasn’t the case. Kids need opportunities to learn basic movement skills and practise them, and it doesn’t just happen on its own.”
Physical literacy is broadly defined as proficiency in a wide variety of fundamental movement and sport skills. Kids who are physically literate have the confidence to use those skills to participate in all manner of sports and physical activities. Experts in child development, physical education and athletic training alike are increasingly touting physical literacy as essential to promoting physical activity. Regular physical activity is connected to better health, positive self-image, better school grades and improved social well-being in general.
How do you know if your child is developing physical literacy? We’ve got a checklist of some basic skills that your child should be mastering. This list is not exhaustive, but it is a great place to start. And as you review the checklist, keep in mind that if your child does not display some of these skills, it doesn’t mean it’s too late for them. You may simply want to get them into activity programs where they can begin to develop these skills.