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How and to what extend do you encourage/motivate very small children to continue with activities?

(10 Posts)
CharlotteBronteSaurus Mon 26-Sep-11 09:47:07

dd1 is 4.6. she has just started reception - this is her third week. It is all going swimmingly <pun intended>, though she is obviously tired.

she has been having swimming lessons for the past few months. she really enjoyed it, and worked hard to get her 5m badge. she is not naturally sporty, and does no other physical activity other than walking a 2-mile round trip to school and back 3 days each week. To be honest she tends towards becoming fat if we don't keep an eye on both portion sizes and activity levels, so I was pleased that she was keen on swimming.

starting reception has coincided with her moving up a group at swimming, where she is expected to put her face in the water more, and start to learn strokes. she finds this really hard, and basically doesn't do it. her enthusiam is waning and i think she would be happy to quit. I am not altogether thrilled at paying for lessons if she's just arsing about as she is at the moment.

so would you take a break, and try again in 6 mo or so? or keep trying to motivate and encourage? and how else do you encourage physical activity in those with couch potato tendencies?

mrsgboring Mon 26-Sep-11 09:54:24

That's what we did with DS1, except he hadn't got so far in swimming and I was tearing my hair out. However, we were at the time flogging a dead horse so it had to be like that. We've since done a couple of intensive courses in the holidays and it's all much better.

I'd be inclined to give her a break, and encourage friendships and playdates at the park with active children to give her the exercise. (Also, school is a much less foody environment than the average home so it might help with any weight control issues too - they get one fruit snack in the morning at DS1's and that's it apart from lunch - definitely less than at home)

CharlotteBronteSaurus Mon 26-Sep-11 09:58:08

thanks mrs g
it's reassuring to hear that your son did well after a break.
I am definitely tending towards her having a break, but need to work out how to factor in a bit more exercise somewhere first i think....

Bellbird Mon 26-Sep-11 10:39:51

Both of mine were really flagging in their first (Autumn) term of Reception from what I remember... My ds had ear infections to boot which meant that we wasted money on that term's swimming lessons. I'd go with the advice of mrs g - fresh air and socialising would be best for the time being.

Also try to get out early on sunny weekends as the morning sun could be a real boost to your dd's body clock and energy levels. Apparently we all have these early morning light receptors in our eyes that helps kick-start our systems. It was on 'Bang goes the Theory!' last week and explains why many of feel sluggish in dreary weather..

CharlotteBronteSaurus Mon 26-Sep-11 12:00:50

thanks bell
interesting about the body clock stuff

An0therName Mon 26-Sep-11 13:29:28

I would take a break - we have done this with my DS a couple of times
does she have a scooter or a bike - family bikes rides are a fun way to increase activities- or learning to ride might be a good project for weekends?
also nothing stopping you going swimming as a family - and actually having fun with it
Dancing is another activity if you don't think sport is going to of interest

madrush Mon 26-Sep-11 13:34:04

If it had been any other activity, I would say take a break, but I do think swimming is such an important skill to learn that I might try harder to keep it going.

But I was always too lazy busy at the weekends to take them swimming myself.

Sleepglorioussleep Mon 26-Sep-11 13:46:22

Dd can often want to stop activities. I tend to go on how she is at the end of the activity and how she talks to others about it as she is often reluctant to go because she's often doing something else. This has kept us at gym for the year!

SouthernandCross Mon 26-Sep-11 13:52:15

I would leave her to arse about if she's that way inclined. Swimming is really an essential life skill and she will soon get sick of being the only not to try sticking her face in the water. Let the teacher know how she's feeling.
All of my girls have spent months making very little progress in their swimming lessons at times but once their friends get moved up with out them, it encourages them to pull finger. They are all doing well now.
My opinion is also influenced by the fact that the waiting list for our swimming lessons is over a year long!

CharlotteBronteSaurus Mon 26-Sep-11 13:53:46

thanks for all the thoughts
we are going to keep attending the rest of the lessons for which we've already paid, which will give us all some time to decide. however, I'm going to cut her some slack with regards to messing about (normally I'm keen that she works hard and incentivise this with small rewards like a sheet of stickers), and we might have a bit of a break.

independently of this we were considering at some point getting her started with one of those sing/dance/drama groups (a Stagecoach copy, basically), so i might bring this forward if she does jack in the swimming.

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