Younger children are usually pure bundles of energy who love nothing more than actively playing and running around – often more than you wish they were. However, as they get older it can become harder and harder to get them to be active. What was once something which they couldn’t get enough of can quickly become something which becomes difficult to encourage? It is fair to say that a lot of parents are not as happy to allow their children to go off and play in the local neighbourhood in the ways that parents of previous generations would have.
Therefore it becomes even more important to get children engaged in physical activities as much as possible in schools. Children who are active tend to be more receptive within a school as well as developing their bodies at a key point in their lives. They will also sleep better at night due to tiring themselves out during the days. So how can we get the less receptive children more interested in doing physical things when they seem uninterested?
Identify Their Interests
As with anything in life if we are more interested in it we will be more motivated to do it. Try to keep an eye out on what activities certain children enjoy and get them more involved in the ones which they enjoy. Rather than picking a few sports or games which cater to most try to have a broad range of opportunities to get active so that the ones who don’t enjoy the more popular ones still have something which excites and engages them.
Less Common Activities
Linking in with this you should try experimenting with pursuits which differ from the norm. For example, martial arts or skateboarding might pique the interest of a child who has never been interested in anything before. Don’t limit yourself to the more established sports such as cricket or soccer as children will have their own interests and particularly as they get older and begin to shape their identity potentially have even less desire to be involved within them. Ask the children if they have any suggestions for new things to do as there might be responses that surprise you. Let them feel like they have a choice and the engagement levels will surely increase.
Encourage Friendly Competition
There is a lot of conjecture as to the benefits of competition in education. I feel it is important to strike a balance. Friendly competition can do wonders for engagement. A lot of children will enjoy testing themselves against their peers. You will need to be mindful of not excluding the less competitive types but you can separate children into different classes so that their levels of competitiveness or abilities are closer to the children they are with.
Alongside making an element of friendly competition you can reward those children who do well or show an extra effort by giving out awards or trophies. These shouldn’t be just for ‘the fastest’ or ‘the top scorer’ etc. but also celebrate things such as ‘the biggest improvement’ or ‘most enthusiastic’ to celebrate children’s achievements at various levels of ability. You can get inexpensive trophies with a personal message through professional engravers which will add that personal touch to the rewards you are handing out.