Physical literacy is a term that not everybody is familiar with.
Upon attending the County of Middlesex Healthy Kids Community Challenge event seminar on physical literacy, I found that physical literacy is a term that people not only need to understand, but also is something that parents need to apply to their children.
Physical literacy is not to be confused with physical activity though. Physical activity is simply being active and performing physically active tasks. Physical literacy though, is gaining the confidence to be active and to live a physically active lifestyle
Drew Mitchell is the director of physical literacy for Canadian Sport for Life; he says that children nowadays are not getting the physical activity required to have that confidence that a healthy, physically literate person would be getting. This is not necessarily their own fault, either. We let our children sit inside all day and communicate through computers, mobile devices, and online gaming.
During the seminar, Drew reminisced about his childhood. He recalled being outside all the time with the neighbourhood kids. Whether they were playing tag, hide-and-go-seek, road hockey, or having bicycle races; this physical activity gave him the confidence he needed to develop into the strong, healthy, physically literate man he is today.
If we let our children live and play through a screen, they will never develop the physical awareness that people of past generations have possessed.
Dr. Dawne Clark also specializes in the field of physical literacy, she says that another reason we shouldn’t blame children for this lack of literacy is because we are too afraid to let our children take risks.
Schools will not allow for tag on the schoolyard, with some schools even banning running! How absurd!
There comes a point when we are being overprotective of our children, and Dr. Clark believes we have reached that point.
“If we take all the risks away, there are greater risks to a child’s development than scraping their knee or breaking their arm.” explains Clark.
In order to create a London youth that is physically literate, we must allow children to try things that they may not otherwise be comfortable with. “Helicopter parenting” isn’t always a bad thing, but in other cases it can be extremely dangerous and damaging to a child’s physical development.