Good morning everyone, I am pleased to see all of you here today, thank you for attending. Today, I will educate you on the importance of child health awareness. First of all, I am going to talk about the motor development of children. Motor development is best described as the stage where children learn how to use their body parts and their ability to perform specific tasks. The three main stages of motor development include cognitive stage, associative stage, and autonomous stage. I am going to explain each one of them in details. Let us start with:
Cognitive Stage- During this phase, children begin to comprehend the skill. They determine the goal of the skill and learn about the environmental elements that might hinder their ability to exercise the skill. Children mostly rely on visual inputs and trial and error for learning guidance during this stage. A good example is when a child learns how to walk. They will need assistance from the caregiver since they are most likely to stumble. As caregivers, you should be ready to provide them with suitable learning environments. Children might look uncoordinated during this stage, but this is just the beginning of the transition from mastering the skill to attaining it (Goodway, Ozmun, & Gallahue, 2016).
The second stage is the; Associative Stage-In this stage, a child begins to exhibit a more stable movement through exercise. After practicing and identifying specific stimuli from the initial phase, they should focus on learning how to perform the skill. During this stage, proprioceptive cues become more relevant than the visual cues. Proprioceptive cues mean that the child should focus on the movement of their bodies in space and the input they feel from their muscles and joints. This stage involves a lot of practice (Goodway, et al., 2016).
The third and last stage is the Autonomous Stage-This is the final stage of motor development. The motor skills are automatic during this phase. Advancement to this stage allows the child to exercise the skills in any environment as compared to the cognitive stage. You should keep in mind that the process of learning does not take the same periods. It is different for every individual. Advancement is dependant on specific factors such as motivation of the child (Goodway, et al., 2016).
The next subtopic that I am going to talk about is;
The Importance of Physical Activity
Physical activity is essential for every childs development. It is the beginning of a healthy and an active life. Physical fitness boosts a childs health and reduces the risks of certain illnesses. Some of the benefits of physical activities include;
Strengthening the heart
Daily exercise improves the performance of the heart by enhancing and making it more efficient. Children and adults cannot suffer from heart diseases when their heart muscles are stiff.
It helps keep arteries and veins clear
Harmful cholesterol and fats in the blood can be reduced by doing daily exercise. Exercise helps to reduce blood pressure and increase the blood vessels walls flexibility thereby reducing the risk of heart attack stroke (Janssen, & LeBlanc, 2010).
It strengthens the lungs
Physical activity can help increase the capacity of lungs and improve its efficiency in regulating the flow in the body.
It reduces blood sugar levels
Exercise triggers the muscles to collect more glucose that is used for the production of energy thereby preventing the accumulation of sugar in the blood. This ability reduces the risk of developing diabetes (Janssen, & LeBlanc, 2010).
It controls weight
Inactive people take in calories excessively which in turn accumulate as fats. Physically active people tend to have calorie deficits which lower weight by taking fats away. Lightweight is essential to the heart and diabetic people.
The impact of families and the community on childrens health and physical activity
Families and the community can impact on childrens health and physical activities in different ways. Daily family routines influence behavioral patterns, initiate norms, and frame the childrens lifestyle. Children practice what they learn from their homes in other aspects of their lives. The community also can influence a childs development. Children begin to adapt to the norms that are practiced in the community by observing the behavior and the lifestyle of the community.
Families and communities can also influence the physical development of a child. Physical activities are essential for the children in improving their fitness levels and their health. They also help in positively impacting on their academic performance. Families and community play a significant role in promoting physical activities in children during their youth. The unity of the families and communities help to improve the culture of healthy living.
Examples of physical activities that a family can implement at home include;
1. Endurance or aerobic exercises
These are activities that involve the movement of large muscles continuously. Practicing this activity can quicken breathing, make a child sweat, and can increase heart rate. They are essential for the development of healthy lungs and heart. These activities include;
Playing football, basketball, hockey
Hiking, skipping ropes, cycling, playing tag
Scootering, skiing, skateboarding, wall climbing
2. Flexibility activities
Children should be allowed to engage in activities that promote body flexibility Children who have adequate flexibility take part in daily activities without experiencing any pain or muscle restrictions. Flexibility decreases muscle soreness and stiffness, improves good posture, minimizes injury risk and increase relaxation (Bauman, Reis, Sallis, Wells, Loos, Martin, 2012). Some of the flexibility activities are;
Doing yoga, stretching, skipping ropes
Actively playing on the playground
Wall climbing, dancing, doing gymnastics
Digging, raking leaves
As caregivers, you should allow your children to get involved in activities that build strength. Sufficient muscular strength helps children to do their daily activities without stressing their muscles and joints. Strength giving activities are essential for proper posture, and healthy bones and muscles (Bauman, et al., 2012). Such activities include;
Doing pushups and sit-ups, gymnastics
Wall climbing, raking leaves
Actively playing on the playground
Carrying objects like garden waste, groceries, and garbage
Every family is encouraged to implement healthy eating practices. Here are some of the healthy eating practices.
Enjoy meals together. When a family eats a meal together, the chances of children o snack too much or eat wrong foods are limited
Involve children in planning and cooking meals. Involving kids in cooking helps them to develop healthy eating habits and increase their time in staying together with the family (Schwartz, Scholtens, Lalanne, Weenen, & Nicklaus, 2011).
Ensure that the family eats healthy foods. A family does not have to do away with deserts. However, fruits and low-fat cooled yogurt can be taken in place for sprinkles and ice cream for instance (Schwartz et al., 2011).
Local recourses within the community
This community has a lot of resources that can help every family to make a healthy lifestyle. These local resorts can be built into our daily lives and keep us on track for a healthy lifestyle.
Here are some of the local resources in our community. The shops and that are close to our homes. Their closeness means that we should walk instead of driving when visiting them. Another resource is the local park and the recreation department in which we can attend our classes and activities for free regardless of our age. The farmers market is also an excellent local resource where we can buy our fruits and vegetables.
Goodway, J. D., Ozmun, J. C., & Gallahue, D. L. (2016). Motor development in young children. Handbook of Research on the Education of Young Children. doi:10.4324/9780203841198.ch5
Janssen, I., & LeBlanc, A. G. (2010). Systematic review of the health benefits of physical activity and fitness in school-aged children and youth. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 7(1), 40. doi:10.1186/1479-5868-7-40
Schwartz, C., Scholtens, P. A., Lalanne, A., Weenen, H., & Nicklaus, S. (2011). Development of healthy eating habits early in life. Review of recent evidence and selected guidelines. Appetite, 57(3), 796-807. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2011.05.316
Bauman, A. E., Reis, R. S., Sallis, J. F., Wells, J. C., Loos, R. J., & Martin, B. W. (2012). Correlates of physical activity: why are some people physically active and others not? The Lancet, 380(9838), 258-271. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(12)60735-1
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