We all know that children learn from imitating us. Their first words are mostly likely the words we choose to repeat to them the most or the songs we single most often to them. My son’s first proper word was ‘Yeah’ and I didn’t realise until after he said it that I was saying it to him every time after I asked him a question. Another friend’s baby was really great at repeating E I E I O. Guess what nursery rhyme her kid heard the most often? Kids grow up to use our expressions, talk with our accents and even have some of our idiosyncrasies, which are the hardest things to mimic. It isn’t hard to see, then, why when parents are active, children grow up to be active as well.
It’s been brilliant seeing the 1-3 year olds in the Wobble and Kick sessions each week getting more and more agile and confident. One mother said to me, ‘My child has actually started walking better during the session.’ There are many factors contributing to this but one of the most important one, I believe, is the fact that the parents participate in the session, getting sweaty themselves, kicking around footballs and cheering on their child from on the pitch (not on the sidelines). This hunch of mine is backed up by research by the University of Bristol that has proven that active parents have active children. Parents magazine goes into even more detail, saying that the study shows that most moms don’t exercise enough to have this impact on their child. This makes me even more proud to see the parents in the Wobble and Kick sessions running around, kicking and getting a good workout.
‘We really enjoyed it – but more of a workout for me than I expected but that’s a good thing! Way more fun than most workouts,’ said one mum about our Wobble and Kick sessions. That’s right, it’s a workout, and it’s not only a fun workout, it’s a workout that has lifelong benefits because it’s encouraging kids to love being active.
After all, children mimic and learn from the things that we do consistently, not the things we tell them to do but don’t do ourselves. Playing footie WITH them and not pointing at the ball from a distance, helping them to score a goal and being their biggest cheer leader and running around with them rather than letting them loose while we sit back and text on our phones, these all show consistent, positive behaviours that will encourage our children to love being active, love challenging themselves and, hopefully, love footie (because it’s the greatest sport in the world).
If you haven’t had a chance to try out one of our sessions yet, come along and give it a go by signing up for a toddler football trial in London SE1.