If each day our kids were being taught the foundations of movement, we would see so much more quality in movement as they grow up.
It has been more than 20 friends who asked me, why chose wushu, gymnastics and swimming for my 4 years old Jakeem. Why haven’t I introduce him to running and cycling as well because my friends know me as an avid triathlete (although I don't see myself that way). Instead of answering them one by one, I answered them through my facebook page. That's where Ninit read it and she helped me to share my experience to others by writing it for The Urban Mama website. I am very honored develop the article for The UrbanMama and I hope my writing could be useful to other parents. So, thank you The Urban Mama.
It’s not because wushu, gymnastics & swimming are the best sports for kids. I don’t see it that way. The way I see it, any physical activity a kid does is great. There is no reason scientific reason why we chose wushu, gymnastics and swimming for Jakeem. The most important thing is, he loves it, he certainly enjoys every session of it. Kids certainly love jumping, water sports and running around laughing. And I personally think it’s the parent’s role to ‘extend’ the fun a little bit further. The concept that I brought into him was not a concept to compete, but for recreation. There is no pressure in the activity he does. The most important is everybody’s happy. When he's happy to do it he would come and come again to do it. Eventually, that would build his habit to stay active and this is important because there is another thing that needs to be invested as well in addition to the concept of recreation and that is discipline and determination. Making it a routine activity of their choice either 2x or 3x a week, to teach discipline and determination into him. Again, not in a competitive mode, but recreation concepts.
But then why not triathlon, just like his parent’s hobby? Swimming, cycling and running can be a recreation too, right? You are absolutely right. Well, Jakeem is obviously a better swimmer today compares to his old man. And he does run too. Running around chasing his friends at school or playing hide and seek with me in the mall sometimes. Cycling? Okay, that’s my homework. We’ll work this out later.
What I don’t want to introduce to him yet at this stage is endurance sports. In sports that I do, there’s only one direction I go: forward. While I want him to do is moving to all direction: Left, right, forward backward, up, down, push, pull, press, lift, jump and roll. Why pointing it to multi-directional activities? Because the foundation of human biomechanics is the ability to move in multi-direction and capable to move loads (lift, push, pull, press, jump and roll). Let our kids build their strong and solid foundation.
I don’t mean wushu, gymnastics and swimming are the only options for strong and solid foundations. No, they are not. That’s just the nearest options available we have from where we live and suitable for his age. Soccer, skateboard, surf, parkour, basketball, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Muay Boran and other type of martial arts are all multi-directional activities.
Encourage them to try everything they want to try. When they have strong and solid foundation they will not get injured easily in the activity they will choose later.
If we, parents, really understood multi-directional activities concept, think how they could encourage our young kids and impact the quality of movement in them also reduce the potential injuries. They could improve overall confidence that is presently low in children who don’t have good movement abilities. Lets encourage them to live their life to the fullest.