Raising kids takes balance. So does teaching them. Today’s resolution word is balance and the post will be both kids’ balance activities and thoughts on balance.
In a day, parents, teachers, and caregivers balance an enormous amount of various factors. We want kids to learn to manage risk, but we want them to be safe so we balance experiences vs supervision. Our children absolutely must feel comfortable in a digital world, but we know young kids need hands-on activities too so we try and limit screen time in a world that seems to have more and more digital opportunities. Time itself seems to be in short supply, so how do we give our children enough unstructured play time and, on the other hand, the enrichment of time in art and sport programs?
In childcare centers, educators have similar questions. Free play or guided discovery? Adults need to be sensitive to what’s in the best interest of an individual child and balance that with the needs of the group.
Learning to balance happens for kids first on a physical level. Almost from the time kids learn to walk, they seem to seek the challenge of standing on just one foot or the other. Kids will windmill their arms as they stretch out one leg and stand on the other before gleefully falling over. Balancing is common game. Soon, they try walking along the edge of something. This might be a neighbor’s retaining wall or the narrow space between two big puddles. It could be the fence or the cement stops in a parking lot. Whatever it is, kids enjoy the challenge of learning to keep their balance on a smaller and smaller space. Sometimes, they want help from us and other times they are adamant about doing it by themselves. A popular gift for kids for Christmas and birthdays is a balance bike or other equipment.
While balance “is important to achieving success in almost every sport or physical activity,” (Balanceability: The Journey Starts Here) it is also part of thinking skills. A fun game for practicing balance and thinking is Hopscotch.
Beyond the physical, we all practice balancing in one form or the other. For us, the word of the day is balance. Raising kids takes balance, and more! For kids, how about some balance play-of-the-day fun?