Physical Activity in the MCO | Parent Wellbeing Blog

Lockdown, CMCO, Circuit Breaker, MCO, a new language and significant changes to life as we now know it. We are learning to live with the stress of teaching kids being taught online and still having a happy homelife. I can assure you that I am in the same position as you all and it is certainly not a perfect system in my household. We are all developing different strategies to overcome this time and these are specific to each of our children and us as parents. I share ideas with you, not because I believe I am an expert or I have mastered the process, but as a fellow parent who has found some things that have made home life better for us and I believe they can help others.


As the world goes through this pandemic I have learnt a lot about myself and my family. I am sure you have done likewise. We have spent more time with our children, for good and for bad, which has made many of us reset our principles and way of life. I wouldn’t choose to live through this again but I know I can take out a lot of lessons from it. I have spoken to many parents and listened to many strategies both out of well thought out ideals and desperation!


If we all agree that there is no perfect answer, or one plan to fix all then can we consider those ideas that can be worth a try in all households. Physical activity is an area that worries us all in the coming years. It has proven to me the importance of PE and Games within school and the social importance attached to it. Therefore, how about….


Routine – having a weekly exercise regime is so important for us all. Pick out those activities that you and your family can do together. Our family has started a daily 4.30pm walk/cycle and it has very quickly become a part of our daily movement. It is done with all devices (yes, even the adults!) left at home.


Devices Down – Most people that have spoken to me have commented on the excessive time the children are on their devices and how they don’t wish to put them down. Yet we will often order this while checking our phones. Hypocritical demands seldom get past the watchful eye of your child. We have found that if we are dictating these rules, we need to follow up and do it as well.


Exercise leads to more exercise – It is a proven fact that once you get moving you generally do even more. You get the bug, as will your children. As a sports department, we are continually looking how we can change our practices to excite the pupils. This week, we have changed things up with new activities such as boxercise, dance, yoga and basketball and football skills. Trying new skills and activities that they may not have encountered before.


Blame is not the game – Too many of us are too quick to blame ourselves for poor parenting. We are all going through our own struggles at this time and fighting the battles we choose. Warfare at home is seldom the answer. Forcing children to do anything is not always the best incentive. Start with small changes which are regular and enjoyable and build from your successes.


Be the role model – If you want your children to go out cycling, get on a bike yourself, you’ll be amazed at how quickly they will get on one too. Our children do copy our actions and behaviours, both good and bad, make them the same as your desires for them.


Exercise while working – The days we worry the most is when they have a very long extended time of sitting and staring. Our 7 year old boy has often done his best work following a regime of 10 minute work = 10 laps of the dining table. I’ve not found any research to back this up and I am not sure why it works but it did! Younger children were certainly not born to be sedentary and so link it in to your day. For older children remind them to get moving between lessons – even running up and down the stairs for a drink will do. The old message of ‘I bet you don’t do this at school!’ doesn’t work because they are not.


Let’s work together in getting these wonderful children out exercising. It will be unique to all of them and so we need to try many different approaches to find what works for your individual child. The more we communicate and collaborate the greater the chance for your child to be active everyday.


Thanks for joining me on the MCO road and please realise we are all going through a similar situation. It is unique and the more we use that as a positive than a negative the happier we will be. With your family, play Risk, ride a bike, go running, play tennis in your drive, use your swimming pool more, order some new trainers, find a new boxercise video, get the kids up for the morning exercise session (do it in the background), get them to try a new exercise in Games or just get out for a walk.

Mr Ben Wicling | Head of Prep PE and Games

Photograph from Stock : MCM Triathlon 2019

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