The Great Outdoors
Through Mimi’s Bowl I share ideas for simple and healthy home cooked food; the sort of food I was lucky enough to enjoy as a child. However, the more I read about the soaring rates of childhood obesity in the UK the more I feel we cannot simply focus on what our children are eating but also how much they are also moving. The more sedentary lifestyles of our children is a concern and as technology becomes a normal part of our children’s days, how can we ensure they are moving enough? Learning to play outdoors, whilst getting muddy? And also experience the joys of the physical world around them?
Since living in West London I happened upon Rufus founder of TARKA London. Rufus champions the benefits of physical movement, teamwork and activities for children. With an army background he feels strongly that children should be moving to gain rewards and problem solve: building resilience and life skills. He is completely focused on nurturing children, emotionally and physically, and encouraging them towards a healthier lifestyle. I knew I had to get him involved in our #mimisfriends series. School has just broken up and our kids will be spending increasing amounts of time at home…
What can we do to get them active and outdoors? Here is what Rufus, our July expert, had to say and his top 5 tips ~
How to get your kids outdoors and exercising this Summer
Tip 1: Take your children somewhere they can run around and make lots of noise
We are constantly telling our kids to be quiet or keep still. Take them to a park, woods or farm and let them know that they can run wild and make as much noise as they can
We forget that children have so much energy that they want and need, to burn off. Let them do that: they’ll be more receptive and focused for the rest of the day, they will have a brilliant time too. Most importantly they might have a better night’s sleep!
Tip 2: Give your child challenges and quests, build resilience
Plan ahead and draw up a list of things to find while outside and go on a treasure hunt and see how hard they work. Race them to the nearest post box, get them to find five smooth pebbles in the garden, anything that gets their heart racing, a sense of urgency makes them rise to the challenge and make sure they get praise and a high five when they come back!
Tip 3: Kids love praise
Give them plenty when they are moving their bodies
Children are constantly seeking your approval and positive reinforcement at this stage in their development will pay dividends in later life.
our top tip to building their physical confidence
after you’ve played an active game with your children ask them: What activity did you like the most? This is a lovely thing to do right before they go to bed, before/ after their bedtime story, to recap on the day. It also helps reiterate how what physical activities they did and plan what they would like to try again, over the next couple of days.
Tip 4: Think like a kid, keep it simple and be social
Children have amazing imaginations are very resourceful, and they can make games and adventures out of the simplest tools and everyday objects. If you invest 10 minutes in creating an imaginary world for your child they will play in it for hours
Get together with other parents and their children it will be easier for you, more fun for your children and the social interaction will tire them out almost as much as the running around.
Tip 5: Set the standard and be a good role model to your children
If you are an active parent, they will see that as normal and grow up to be active children. When you wake up show them a few simple yoga poses to stretch their muscles or show them how to do a press up or a lunge and get them to show you how many they can do! Children are natural mimics and will copy whatever you do. If you are outside exploring woods or kicking a ball they will want to join in.
introducing Rufus the founder of Tarka London
Rufus was educated at Harrow and Oxford Brookes University before joining the British army in 2006, where he commissioned into the Household Cavalry and went on to complete a tour of Afghanistan as well as ceremonial duties in London. He also spent two years at a training regiment, educating 40 young recruits, and ran the Eton College Combined Cadet Force for a year and a half. After leaving the army in 2014, Rufus embarked on a career in property development but missed the challenging and rewarding nature of army life, as well as the opportunities it presented for working with young people. TARKA was therefore set up as an opportunity to go back to what he enjoys the most. Rufus loves all sports, particularly rugby, cricket and skiing. He has bicycled across the United States, completed the Marathon des Sables twice and rowed the Atlantic Ocean.