Finding Your Family’s New Groove

Finding Your Family’s New Groove

After a challenging few months, many of us are looking forward to getting into the new ‘normal’. As restrictions have eased, team sports and other organised extracurricular school activities are returning.

It is possible you (and your children) are feeling a little overwhelmed. You may not be quite ready to return to everything. Things may have changed on how and when the activities and sports are run for example shorter season, less contact and more hygiene rules. This can take time to get used to.

“Re set” your extra-curricular or after school activity plans

Some of our tips:

  • Talk to your children and reflect on the last few months of down time, ask them what they’d now like to do with after school time.
  • Decide on what activities are important for your family. This may be about wanting to develop an important skill like swimming, an instrument or an activity that helps your child make new friendships like a team sport.
  • Plan how you want to spend quality time as a family after school pick up. For example, a family walk, cooking dinner together at home or a trip to the park. Move Well Eat Well have some great ideas on the families section of the Move Well Eat Well website
  • Identify some time in your child’s week that can be dedicated to free play. Lady Gowrie Tasmania have a great article explaining what free play means, they describe it as “the child directs the play and there is no expected outcome from an adult”. You can read the full article here (begins on page 5).
  • Recognise free play can include playing with construction bricks or collecting rocks and sticks. Research shows that free play is important for children’s creativity and can help with their emotional development.
  • Think about after school activities in a different way; it does not have to be a structured activity. Activities like catching up with another family at a park, selecting books from your local library and enjoying reading together are great after school activities.
  • Try not to feel pressured into signing your child up to multiple after school activities based on what other families are doing. Every child is different, it’s important to do what works best for your child.

Make time for physical activity as a family

There are benefits for any kind of physical activity you do as a family. The main benefits are:

  • Helps children grow heathy and strong
  • Develops motor skills and body confidence
  • Role models healthy habits

There have also been links made to the positive effects on mental health. Some of the benefits include:

  • Children sleep better and in turn, feel more energised during the day
  • Helps children to cope with stress
  • Connects children with others to build on social and emotional health.

Read more on the positive effects on mental health

Choose what is best for your child and your family

Try to strike a balance for ways to be active and what is comfortable for your family right now. It’s important to consider how your child is going as things return to this “new normal”. There may be times when an activity may need to be cancelled due to illness or any new restrictions. Think about how this may affect your child. It may help to think about ways to help them understand this.

Talk to your children about what they are comfortable with when making choices about what activities to take up. It’s good to plan time for free play in their week whether they do organised activities or not.