How to Bond with Your Non-Athletic Child
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Some, including Dr. William Germano, the performance director and managing partner of CATZ of Long Island, a training center for athletic children, feel that the years prior to third grade are the most important for finding physical activities for children to enjoy. The key, Dolgoff says, is to make each activity about having fun instead of about exercise.
"Don't force a child to exercise in front of peers if he or she is uncomfortable," Dolgoff says. "Explain that the more your child moves, the easier it becomes. Parents should also explain that they weren't always athletic, or that they are not athletic and want to learn how to become more athletic with their child."
With New York's proximity to water, many families may choose to rent kayaks and participate in other water sports. Picking out a kayak is relatively easy. Families need to know what type of water they'll be paddling in and the kind of adventure they want. Young children may like easy rides, which recreational kayaks are designed to foster. Tandem kayaks allow parents to do most of the paddling until the child feels comfortable. Many children who don't excel at other sports can strengthen their core muscles and upper body through kayaking.
More Easy Bonding Ideas
Activities don't have to be complicated or involve renting equipment for kids and parents to enjoy each others' company. For those who would like to get outside, parents can plan day trips to go hiking in places like Breakneck Ridge, which is a short train ride from Grand Central station. Getting outside for a hike or nature walk is a great way to slow down. Those who live in a more metropolitan area might add a competitive aspect to their activities by wearing pedometers, which allow those who wear them to measure the number of steps they take and the distance they cover. Bike rides also build bonding experiences. Many times, families can turn some of these activities into day trips that also involve picnic lunches and other activities that kids - and parents - will enjoy. Try some familiar favorites that parents will remember from their childhood: Hide-and-go-seek, freeze tag and running bases are all activities that generations of kids have enjoyed for decades.
"If parents encourage their child to go outdoors with other children," Germano says, "chances are they'll come up with something on their own to keep themselves active and engaged." It may never be the major leagues (or even the pee-wees), but remind yourself that it's your child's dreams that matter - and upping his level of activity, even if he shuns typical competitive sports, is the key.
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