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Fresh ideas, insights, and tips from

The Little Gym 

 

Make a business out of making a difference

Make a business out of making a difference
Team up with The Little Gym Europe and become an owner of a franchise for children by bringing ‘Serious Fun’ to the children in your own community!

The Little Gym® prepares kids – and kids at heart – for life’s adventures. We promote growth in individuals, families and our communities by serving as a trusted partner on the journey of developing well-rounded, confident kids. You could be next!

We’re continuously looking for passionate and motivated entrepreneurs to join our family. Whether you’re looking to open a new location or are interested in an opportunity within an existing location, there are plenty of ways to become a The Little Gym® franchise owner.

Take the next step!  We make it easy to become a franchise owner to bring The Little Gym programmes to more children in more communities.  

LEARN MORE NOW!


The benefits of story-telling

Storytelling
Once upon a time at The Little Gym Wandsworth and Fulham the Funny Bugs and Giggle Worms threw a coin in the magic well, as they were leaning over the magic well, they accidentally fell in! As they fell, they saw some very strange things – they saw trolls doing forward rolls, ants in baggy pants and even running hamburger buns.

After they escaped from the well they met Kip, a friendly little chipmunk who was trying to rescue the beautiful princess Janelle from the wicked queen. They had to help Kip convince the Queen that her poisoned apple was all sorts of different things like bubble bouncers or funny hats so that she couldn’t feed it to Janelle.

At the end of their story the Funny Bugs and Giggle Worms transformed into a family of Dinosaurs, they had to hide from the humans and jump over huge tar pits!

What an adventure we had – and all this just in one hour.

Did you like the story telling of our classes this week? We sure hope so because this is just one example of how we use the 3 Little Gym class dimensions to develop your child physically, mentally and socially. This week we used our story telling theme, “Once Upon a Time” to use creative imagination and story-telling to engage your child, whilst having fun and learning new things and skills.

Some of the skills we focused on this week were handstands, forward rolls and cartwheels (Donkey kicks, egg rolls and monkey jumps to the funny bugs) – if you want to see how these skills could look in the future, check out our Facebook page for some skill progression videos/photos _______.

There are many benefits of story-telling, it can help your child with their learning and it forms a crucial part in developing your child’s overall personality. It is an age-old tradition followed by parents since time immemorial, it’s something that has been a part of most of our own childhoods too. And if this isn’t reason enough for us to include it as a child development tool in our classes then keep reading for five more benefits of story-telling for pre-schoolers and beyond.

1.)   Instils virtues in your child:

Children love listening to stories, they have favourite characters, they want to know more about them and often try to emulate them. Does dressing up as superheroes or Elsa from Frozen sound familiar? By telling your child stories that come with a meaningful message, you can teach them qualities like kindness, the importance of friendship/love, courage and honesty.

2.)   Enhances Verbal Proficiency:

Reading stories aloud helps you children become familiar with the language & pronunciation of words as well a learning new words, phrases and their meaning. It will help them with their reading later as they will have seen many words, and become more familiar with what those words look like. A fun activity to do with your children, which was also included in our name activity in class this week is to start a sentence. ‘Once upon a time there was a little girl called ... and she went to the …’ and get your child to fill in the gaps, working on their own imagination and word play.

3.)   Improves Listening Skills:

Younger children, especially Funny Bugs, usually have a shorter attention span and can struggle to concentrate on things for too long. They end up talking to you, instead of listening. Story telling can keep their attention, but also helps them to be keen to listen and understand. A fun game you can try at home, which is also our pop for the week, is to read a story to your child and then ask them questions about the story to see if they were actively listening to what it was about.

4.)   Encourages Creative Imagination:

Listening to a story helps a child imagine the characters, places, plot etc. instead of seeing it on a visual medium. This also enhances creativity, making them more imaginative and open to ideas and free thinking. We find in classes the more creative, imaginative and fun we as instructors, the better the behaviour and skill development throughout the class.

5.)   Makes Academic Learning Easier:

Storytelling for children is a stepping stone for academic learning. Many children have the habit of learning by rote, without understanding the subject. Storytelling, as a regular activity, can help children to enjoy and better understand what they are reading. This helps them in learning their subjects better. Sometimes, teaching school subjects as an interesting story (example, a boring history lesson can be turned into an interesting historical story like the ‘Horrible Histories’ books) can help them understand better and fuel curiosity.

If you are not already enrolled in our program here at The Little Gym of Wandsworth and Fulham and you would like to learn more about what we do then call us on 0208 874 6567 or enter your details for a FREE introductory visit.

Summer Camps are here!

In our first week of Summer Camps we are having a magical time learning about Legends, Fables & Folklore with our fab 3-8 olds. Meanwhile, our dynamic 6-12 year old gymnasts are soaking up the sun with some Caribbean Cartwheels and Hawaiian Handstands. Remember that camps will run from Mon - Fri from 25th July to 4th Sep. Just give us a call on 0208 874 6567 to book your slot. Hurry as spaces are filling fast!

International Handstand Day is on 25th June!

International Handstand Day is on 25th June!

Have you always wanted to perform a handstand? Perfectly, or just enough to pull out every so often at a picnic in the park? Well this is your opportunity to pick up some tricks and get practising. Then you can join in with the British Gymnastics and the BBC Get Inspired campaign and post a picture of your best handstand on any social media platform accompanied by the hashtag #Handstandday.

Remember handstands are not just for kids. The benefits include strengthening the muscles in your arms, core and back as well as helping to maintain bone density. Also being upside down can increase circulation to the upper part of the body…just to name a few!

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Here are some top tips from The Little Gym:
1. Start in a long lunge
2. Make a long reach forward
3. Look at your hands as you kick
4. Keep your body tight, drawing your toes up to the ceiling
5. Come down one foot at a time
6. Finish in a lunge

This week, send us a picture of your child or indeed yourself performing your best handstand. Make it as weird and wacky as you like. Post it on our Facebook page with #Handstandday or email it to us at Wandsworth_fulham@ thelittlegym.eu and we'll show it off to all of our members on the notice boards at the gym.

Happy Handstands!

10 Questions With...Matt


Instructor Matt started working at TLG Wandsworth in September 2015; joining us a parent & child, Pre-K and Grade school coach. 

Where are you from?
I was raised in Red Oak, Texas but I live in Dallas, Texas. 

Describe youself in 3 words
Determined, honest and loyal.

Favourite animal
Dogs or foxes.

What was you favourite subject at school?
Maths or alegbra.

How long have you been involved in gymnastics?
13 years! 3 competitivley and 12 coaching.

Favourite gymnastics skill?
Handstand

Best thing about living in London?
I like being able to walk or ride my bike everywhere I want to go

Best thing about working at The Little Gym?
Working with the great staff, who dont only love gymnastics but are great people.

Other than Gymnastics, which sport are you most excited to watch at the Olympics in Rio?
Diving

What advice would you give to aspiring gymnasts?
Practice everyday and dont be afraid to fall

We are running the London Rat Race!

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On Saturday 13th August  instructors Tobi, Kerry, Olivia, Matt, Michela and Lucy (aka ‘The Tumbling Titans’)  will be running, jumping, swimming, kayaking and sliding their way through the London Rat Race.



It is all in aid of our chosen charity - Shooting Star Chase - who provide care for children with life limiting conditions. 

We need your help to raise as much as possible for this fantastic cause and you can support the team by sponsoring us on our Just Giving page here.

All donations are greatly appreciated!

Here Comes the Summer!

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With the summer holidays right around the corner, we are really excited to share our Summer 2016 Schedule for 25th July - 4th September. Our camps and classes are a great way to keep the kids entertained come rain or shine!

Summer Camps 

Our Adventure camps for 3-8 year olds provide 3 hours of gymnastics fun to stimulate their motor, social and cognitive skills. The kids will be able to explore a world of imagination and adventure with exciting weekly themes including The Race to Outer Space, Legends, Fables and Folklore, Crazy Carnival and Green Beards Pirate Ship.

In our Skill Thrill Camps for 6-12 year olds beginner, intermediate and advanced gymnasts conquer the beam, bars, vault and floor. With weekly themes including Caribbean Cartwheel & Hawaiian Handstands, Vaulting Volcanoes and Back Handspring Bonanza the camps are ideal for kids wanting to grow their skills while having lots of fun along the way.

Camps are £35 each for members and £42 for non-members.   If you buy a block of 5 camps you will receive the 6th camp free.

Summer Parent & Child Classes

Our summer drop in classes for Bugs (4-10 months), Birds (10-18 months) and Beasts/Superbeasts (19-36 months) are fun and interactive parent & child classes based around exploration and the development of basic motor and social skills.

Classes are £15 each for members and £17 each for non-members. If you buy a block of 4 classes, you will receive the 5th class for free.

Spaces fill up fast, so give us a call on 0208 874 6567 or speak to a member of the team to book your childs space.

My TLG Class (by a Funny Bug)

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Starting on time and not a second late the teacher calls the class in the gym door with a cheerful proclamation ‘Funny Bugs come on in and get some bells!’ Every Funny Bug class starts with shaking the bells and singing our hello song. Then the teacher tells us what we are learning today, and today is all about ‘I think I can’ making the choice to be positive even if something is new, hard, or scary. Our teacher says their name and then asks for our names individually and asks us if we can do something (She asked me if I could jump on one foot!) to which we reply, ‘I think I can!’ When everyone is done the teacher explains the rules:

Rule #1: To be safe.

Rule #2: If you need a drink or the toilet ask the teacher.

Rule #3: TO HAVE FUN!

Instantly we are off! The teacher puts some music on and we are on an adventure pretending to be trains. The music is fast, exciting and before I knew it, the song was done. The teacher had us sit by the coloured wall while they set out markers, and one by one she called us into a colour train. When everyone is in their spot the teacher commences our journey and with a song we are off!

My group went to beam first where we walked on the beam way up high; I was even taller than my teacher! Then my group went to then next teacher where she taught me how to swing from the high bar. I was nervous at first but my teacher reminded me to say ‘I think I can’ and give it a go. It was scary but fun all at the same time! Once again we changed stations and the teacher taught me how to be brave as we flew (like my favourite super hero) backwards over the giant round mat doing a backhand spring.

Time was gone in a flash and my teacher called everyone back to the wall. ‘It’s time for a game’ she said with a smile. It was fun to play with my new friends and teacher! Then my teacher directed us to sit in a circle as she talked about all the things I had done today, and she said that at home we should try to keep the ‘I think I can’ attitude all week long. Then we sang our goodbye song … ‘bye, bye, Funny Bugs. It’s. Time. To. Go. On. Home.’ All of us kids ran to the wall to get a sticker before leaving, I always like it when I get the green one! Just like that my time at The Little Gym was done.  I was so excited to share what I did with my parents, and I can’t wait until my next class!

Tumble and Spin - The Benefits of Rolls

When you were a child did you love to spin around and enjoy the feeling of being dizzy? You may still experience the same dizzy feeling when you do more than one forward roll in a row, or even stand up too quickly.

Here at The Little Gym even our youngest Bugs (4 to 10 months) are taken through supported forward rolls and continue to progress through Birds, Beasts, Funny Bugs, and so on until they become masters of rolling in every direction on the floor, bars and even the beam.

DownTheCheese

All of these rolls have one huge benefit in common - they develop and enhance our vestibular sense. Our vestibular system allows us to maintain our balance and to experience gravitational security, allowing us to maintain a position without falling. It also helps us to move smoothly and efficiently.

Because the vestibular system coordinates eye and head movements, it may be challenging for some children to complete everyday activities such as copying from a white board in their classroom, following a moving object such as a ball through the air; or visually scanning across a page to read.

The vestibular system also helps to develop and maintain an appropriate muscle tone. To understand this concept better try to balance on one leg with your eyes closed. Notice the way that your muscles will start to move and regulate your position to stop you from falling.

Apart from forward rolls, the kids at The Little Gym are challenged in many different ways to improve their vestibular system. One is used this week in our parent & child classes while we’re rounding up our Learning unit “Movement Arts and Body Parts: the AirMat.

The AirMat provides a soft and springy surface that is a firm favourite in classes and Birthday parties alike.  Its bouncy surface can quite easily throw kids off balance so their mind and body are forced to adjust their movements to maintain their balance, stay upright and develop core body strength and stability. And on their way back to the beginning AirMat the challenge continues with even more forward rolls.

10 questions with...Tobi

Tobi is our Gym Director. He started working at TLG Wandsworth 2008

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1. Where are you from?
Chemnitz, Germany

2. What is your favourite thing about working at TLG?
Seeing children grow in confidence

3. Describe yourself in 3 words
Positive, fun, learner

4. Favourite food?
Hoisin Duck Wrap

5. Favourite colour?
Brick red

6. Favourite gymnastics skill?
Back Hip Circle

7. What skill would you most like to learn?
Back hip circle

8. What was your dream job growing up?
When I was 5, I wanted to become a drummer like Charlie Watts

9. What would your superpower be?
To make everyone happy

10. What place would you most like to visit?
Bhutan

Can you touch your nose with your eyes closed?

The answer is most probably yes (or certainly very close!). But how is it that we automatically know where our nose is without having to look?
The answer is all thanks to our proprioceptive system.

Proprioception - knowing where and how the body is orientated in space - is a crucial ability that we often take for granted. It's what allows us to walk up a flight of stairs without having to look at our feet, or stops us from banging our heads as we duck under something low.

Over the next few weeks week in our Parent & Child classes we will be exploring a new learning unit called 'Movement Arts and Body Parts'. A key focus throughout this learning unit is to help develop children's proprioceptive skills. Poor proprioceptive skills in children may result clumsiness, poor coordination or seemingly attention seeking behaviour.



A great way to help develop proprioceptive skills is to encourage your child to try activities that challenge their muscles with resistance – for example swinging on monkey bars, climbing and jumping.
Another way develop proprioceptive skills is through sensory integration – the process where we are able to experience, interpret and in turn respond to the environment around us. This week in class, you will be able to see sensory integration in action as we focus of learning and identifying different body parts using a range different senses including visual, auditory & tactile.

In the meantime here are 99 cool sensory activity ideas that you can try at home.
http://mommypoppins.com/ny-kids/99-sensory-activities-for-any-child

How can I be a healthier me?

That’s the name of the game we are playing at the end of our Pre School classes this week. The children shout ‘How Can I be a healthier me?’ and we give them different options such as eating fruit and vegetables, brushing your teeth each night or helping with chores at home. If the answer we give is a healthy one they can run across the mat and try and catch the teacher.

As many of you know, here at The Little Gym we focus on more than just the physical benefits gained through their gymnastics (though this is still important), we also work on ‘Brain Boosting’ activities  - letting the children think, play and be creative, and ‘Life Skills’ – sharing, helping, making friends and thinking about their role in society. We vary our learning units throughout each semester so that the children can develop and gain confidence in all these areas.

We are currently focusing our lessons on enhancing the children’s understanding of health, fitness and personal responsibility. The Pre School learning unit (ages 3-6) is ‘Healthy Chores for you and Yours’ and has a fun focus on keeping our bodies, minds and homes healthy and fit. This week we are filling in  ‘This is Me’ cards with the children, focusing on all their favourite things. We hope you enjoy the funny answers they give as much as we do – our favourite animal choice this week has been a ‘sparkly unicorn with wings!’

The Grade School (ages 6-12) learning unit is ‘Discover the wealth of fitness and health’ where we will be using fun fitness challenges, music and their gymnastics skills to remind the kids that we all have jobs to do such as keeping healthy and helping at home and with the environment. Don't be surprised if you hear us singing, ‘I don’t want to be a junk food eater’ around the gym this week as it’s a super catchy warm up song we are doing with the kids!



It is important to make everyday things fun and creative so that the children are inspired and motivated to think and build on the topics in each learning unit. We encourage them to try new things at home such as offering to help tidy up their toys (we know how this can be a challenge at times) or helping set the table for dinner.
http://www.kidspot.com.au/kids-activities-and-games/Games+5/Make-chores-fun-cleaning-games-for-kids+11988.htm


The focus on healthy eating and lifestyle is another really important aspect of this learning unit. It holds a special interest to one of our instructors Lucy who runs a health and wellbeing website and blog called www.paleo-britain.co.uk as she has a keen interest in nutrition of adults and children.

“I work at The Little Gym part time, I also look after my sisters three children, Olive who is 4, Len who is 2 and Wilfred who is 5months, two days a week while my sister is at work. In our spare time (when we can find it) my sisters and I work on our blog; Paleo Britain. I’m really passionate about helping people lead healthier lives and making the best choices for diet and lifestyle. The most important thing is to choose nutrient dense food when making meals, especially for young children as their appetites and capacity for food are often small. Choosing the most nutrient dense meals ensures they are getting all they need to develop, physically and mentally. One thing my sisters and I have been working on are simple and quick recipes (tried and tested) that children will love.”

Check out the recipes for kids section of Lucy’s website for some tasty meal ideas.

http://www.paleo-britain.co.uk/category/paleo-kids/ The Banana & Blueberry pancakes are our favourite, and they are also dairy and gluten free!


Failure To Stimulate Toddlers’ Brains Could Set Them Back For Decades

In the last few weeks of our Parent & Child classes, we have explored the world of language development in babies and toddlers under the age of 3. Our weekly themes have included word repetition, letter shapes and sounds, rhyming and story telling.  

But why start at such a young age?  After all, a poll commissioned by Save The Children’s ‘Read On. Get On’ campaign suggested that up to 61% of parents considered the school years to be the most important learning period for children.  

For us, the reason is simple. Here at The Little Gym we believe that it is never too early to introduce babies and toddlers to a wide range of learning concepts. Scientific research indicates that the early years are the most critical in developing a strong foundation for lifelong learning.  In effect, they are a ‘lightbulb moment’ and the point in life where children’s brains grow and develop the most rapidly.

Failure to develop adequate language skills in the early years can result in children struggling to in the classroom and lagging behind their peers - with consequences that can last for decades.

Further information about the importance of the early years in speech and language development can be found in Save the Children and the Institute of Child Health at University College London’s 'Lighting Up Young Brains'.


The Little Gym Wandsworth & Fulham wishes you all a Happy Easter!


“Seventh time’s a charm”

zilli billi willi

In the past weeks in our Parent and Child classes, we have focused on the different aspects of language development in toddlers. For example, we explored the importance of rhymes and the recognition of letters and letter sounds.

Next week we will be asking parents from our 'Beasts' and 'Super Beasts' classes to choose a story that both they and their little one love and read it seven times in a row! This scenario may be all too familiar with many of you already, as toddlers often want to hear their favourite stories over and over and over again.

So why is repetition so important, and what is the best way to read the story so your little one benefits the most?

Firstly, science has proven that repetition is the key to learning. This is true not only for forward rolls, handstands and cartwheels, but also for everything we learn.

Beyond that repetition is comforting. If you want to read more about the benefits of repetition, you can find a good article here.

A great way to encourage language development is to practice "Active Reading" during story time with your child. Start asking your child questions on each page or at the end to see how much they can remember and comprehend. They can answer using their words, or simply pointing to a picture in the book. Use your finger as a guide following the words while you are reading to teach them that reading goes from left to right. In no time they will sit down with that same book and pretend to read to themselves. Remember NOT to correct their pronunciation, but motivate and encourage by applauding their efforts so they can develop a LOVE of books and confidence in reading.


Baking FUN at The Little Gym Wandsworth & Fulham


Check out our Fantastic Easter Camps

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We are running our brilliantly fun camps for kids over 3 years of age in the week after Easter.  Camps are already filling up fast, so don't miss out!  The camps are full of laughter, fun and learning and a great way of keeping the kids active during the holidays.


Woohoo! It is the beginning of Semester 2

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We are already in week 2 of our spring term but it is not to late to join the FUN.  Classes are filling up fast, so don't delay and call us today to book your slot


Get Up and Get Moving!

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The times, they’re changing, and it’s becoming even more difficult to keep our kids engaged, happy, and well, out of our hair. I know I’m not alone when I say that I have used my friends: television, computer, and tablet as a distraction for my children when I need 30 minutes of peace.

 

As parents, we know it’s not always easy, but are kids being exposed to too much technology? According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children spend an average of 7 hours a day using media including television, computer, internet, video games, and cell phones. In an ever growing media driven world, it’s becoming even more important to make sure your child is getting active every day.

 

So, how can you encourage your child to get active? Show them that being active is fun! Exercise as a family by going for a nightly walk, jog, or having a family soccer game in the back yard. You can also get your children involved in activities outside of the home like The Little Gym to help them appreciate a healthy and active lifestyle for years to come. Whether you’re running, jumping, or tumbling, get moving with your child to build the foundation for a lifetime of healthy habits!


Our Top 5 Family Dinners

Our-Top-5-Family-Dinners

You know how important it is that your kids eat a healthy dinner every night and we know how hard it is to get your kids to eat the food you want them to eat. If you’re tired of mac & cheese and frozen chicken nuggets, here’s a list of our top five healthy dinners that the whole family will enjoy.

 

  • Looking for a way to pump more vegetables into your kids’ diet? Let’s start with Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs. The spaghetti squash is packed full of nutrients. The recipe also includes a healthy amount of celery, carrots, and tomatoes all disguised in the sauce. If you want to make it even healthier, try trading the ground beef for ground turkey.
  • These Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls are stuffed full of healthy things like black beans, spinach, and corn. If you want to make them even heartier try adding some cooked chicken breast. These save so well you might even want to make a double batch so your kids can eat them the next night, too!
  • We love burgers! As a parent you’ll love these Ultimate Turkey & Black Bean Burgers even more because not only are they made with healthy ground turkey but there is also a serving of protein- and fiber-rich black beans in each one. Add some sliced avocado to really make it healthy to the max.
  • We love this recipe for Sesame Chicken Salad because it’s a little out of the ordinary and easy as can be. Your kids will love eating the carrots, snow peas, chicken and pasta, especially when they’re the ones who mix the peanut butter dressing.
  • Your family will beg you every week to make these Chicken Pot Pie Turnovers, a fun play on the traditional chicken pot pie. You’ll be surprised how easy it they are to make. This recipe calls for chicken breast, celery, and carrots, but don’t be scared to add other vegetables to the mix.


Happy eating!


Benefits of Chores

Benefits-of-Chores

Do children need chores? According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, young children who are given household chores “build a lasting sense or mastery, responsibility and self-reliance.” And what parent doesn’t want that for their child?

 

The article also found that those who began chores around ages 3 and 4 were more likely to have positive relationships with their families, higher academic success and were also found to be more empathetic and responsive to others needs. Need we say more? Check out these 5 ideas for encouraging your child to help out around the house:

 

  1. Turn on some music while your child sweeps the kitchen or picks up their toys. Adding music to the mix will make doing chores more enjoyable for both of you.
  2. Kids love a good game – set a timer and motivate your kids to do their chore as fast (and efficient) as possible.
  3. Consider the way you approach chores – make it fun and let your child know that they are “helping” you by completing a certain task.
  4. Keep a chore chart - once your child has filled their chart let them choose a “prize” of their choice like staying up “late” on a weekend, ice cream with mom & dad, or a trip to your local children’s museum or zoo.
  5. Have fun with it. Making chores fun is the best way to encourage your child to complete their chores now and for years to come.

 

To read the full article, click here.


Nice Kids Finish First

Nice-Kids-Finish-First

The Little Gym helps kids develop social skills, which studies find may be the most important factor for long-term success.


Science has confirmed it: nice guys don’t finish last. At least not according to a new study which suggests that kindergarten students who display pro-social behavior may be more likely to graduate college and have steady jobs. The 20 year national study tracked more than 700 children from kindergarten through age 25. The researchers found that young children that scored highest in social competence skills, such as sharing, taking turns, and listening, were four times more likely to graduate from college than those who did not. The study also found that, in some cases, these types of social skills may be better predictors of future success than academic skills.

Positive social skills are something that can be learned and improved upon throughout childhood. Programs at The Little Gym help children grow and develop social skills in a fun environment that provides a different context for learning. Games are purposefully designed to enhance social development and the non-competitive environment encourages children to play with each other rather than against each other. Children learn to become more considerate of one another, more aware of the feelings of others, and more willing to work together for mutual benefit. These essential life skills help children learn how to interact in positive and socially acceptable ways which helps them become well-rounded little people so that, as research now confirms, they grow into well-rounded adults.


Oh where, oh where have our dear manners gone? Oh where, oh where could they be?

Oh-where-oh-where-Manners

Good manners are not something that children will naturally pick up. Children need to be taught, reminded, and reminded again of the importance of having good manners.  Good manners help children become well-rounded adults. The trick is to teach your child manners that are age-appropriate so they are able to understand why manners are SO important!  Here are 6 manners that are at the top of our good-manners list.

 

  1. “Thank you” is a word that both parents and The Little Gym instructors cannot stress enough!  A simple thank you sends a powerful message of gratitude. When someone does something for you, gives you a compliment, gives you a gift, etc. it is important to always say thank you. When a child is old enough, a good practice is for children to write their own personal thank you notes when receiving a gift or spending time at a friend’s house. A written note goes a long way!
  2. “Please” or “the magic word”, is an important tool for children to get what they want. Please is a great manner to learn for even children who are not yet talking. If a child wants something it is important for them to use their manners by expressing ‘please’ and following it up with a ‘thank you’.
  3. “Excuse me” or “pardon me”, at a certain age children should learn not to interrupt adults when they are having a conversation. Rather, they should learn to wait their turn or say ‘excuse me’ or ‘pardon me’ if they need to interrupt. These phrases also work when in public and your child needs to get around a person who may be in their way, or when your child bumps into someone by accident. By using ‘excuse me’ or ‘pardon me’ your child will not only be heard but will be doing this in a positive manner.
  4. “Hello” and “goodbye”; Greetings and goodbyes are basic functions of communication. Beginning at a young age children should learn the appropriate way to address people when they enter and leave a room. Greetings and goodbyes are a great way to teach children how to interact with one another.
  5. Table manners; starting at a very young age children can learn table manners. Starting when children begin eating solid foods they are often re-directed when throwing or spitting food. This helps children learn what is acceptable and what is not. When children get a bit older it is important for them to learn basic table manners; knowing how to use your utensils, asking for things to be passed when they are out of reach, and asking to be excused when they are finished with their meals. Basic table manners follow children throughout their lives and helps parents enjoy their mealtimes as well!
  6. Be kind to others; it is important for children to learn how to be kind and positive. Teaching children that mean words and teasing is hurtful helps a child understand the importance of kindness.

 

Practice makes perfect – keep practicing and reminding your child of the importance of having good manners. Be repetitive, if your child does not say please then simply make them ‘say the magic word’ and they will begin to catch on! Often times role-playing is a great way to have your child experience the appropriate way to act in certain situations. Great manners go a long way and it is best to begin good practices at a young age!


Cold and Flu Myths

Cold and Flu Myths

It starts with a sniffle – next thing you know, the whole household is sneezing, coughing, and passing tissues. If you’re feeling confused about how to treat colds and the flu, you’re not alone. Separate the facts from the fiction and check out the top 3 cold and flu related myths.

 

Myth #1: The flu vaccine causes the flu: Getting a flu shot may cause symptoms that feel like the flu, but the viruses contained in the flu shots have been killed, or “inactivated.” which means they can’t cause infection. While there may be some achy side effects that can sometimes follow the flu shot, it just means your immune system is responding and processing the vaccine.

Myth #2: You’re more likely to get sick if you’re cold: Despite mom’s warnings that you should bundle up, being cold does not cause a cold. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, infections prevail in winter months because they are spread when more people stay indoors for longer periods of time and are in closer contact with each other.

Myth #3: Hugging and kissing are great ways to spread cold and flu germs: Cold and flu viruses like to enter the body through the nose or eyes, so a hug or a peck on the cheek isn’t likely to be dangerous. Don’t be afraid to give your sick child plenty of affection, and don’t worry that a kiss or hug will spread your germs to him (or vice-versa).

 

Many parents recognize The Little Gym as a safe and clean place in which to bring their children. We work hard to ensure each and every visit lives up to your expectations. Daily and weekly cleaning and sanitation helps keep our environment sparkly and keeps the germs away.  And if your child is feeling a little under the weather, our generous make-up policy allows you to attend a make-up class by simply calling us prior to the absence.


6 Ways to Build Confidence in Kids

6 Ways to Build Confidence in Kids

Parents are a child’s greatest influence. As a parent, there are many things you can be doing to establish and strengthen your child’s confidence. Here are 6 tips for strengthening your child’s confidence.

 

  1. Consider the compliments you give your child. Words of praise mean more when they refer to a child’s specific efforts or new abilities. Try using Specific Positive Feedback to focus on specific feedback rather than simply saying “Good Job”.
  2. Nurture your child’s special interests. Every child is unique, as parents and caregivers it is your job to help your children feel confident about those interests.
  3. Provide endless encouragement for your child. Your child will never forget the way you make them feel – that’s why it is important to be supportive of your child. Encourage them to reach for the stars!
  4. Do not label your child as anything – this may limit them and the way they feel about themselves as they grow.
  5. Extend trust in your child and let them make decisions.
  6. Focus on the glass half full – teach your child optimism. Teaching your child how to have an optimistic mindset will allow their confidence to shine!

 

Building self-confidence begins very early in life, it is important to set your child up for success. Use these simple tips to help your child become more confident. 


The Importance of Reading Aloud

The-Importance-of-Reading-Aloud

It’s no secret that reading to your child is a good thing – but do you know the positive effects reading has on your child’s development now and in the future? According to a recent study in Time Magazine, reading at home with your child early and often activates the part of the brain that allows them to understand the meaning of language. The study also added that reading has been proven to expand a child’s vocabulary and helps to strengthen the bond between parent and child! Need we say more? Check out these four tips to help make reading together a daily habit:

 

  1. Read to your child in the morning when they wake up and each night before they go to bed. Setting aside special time to read together will help make this a daily routine you and your child will cherish forever.
  2. Keep books in every room throughout the house; in the bedroom, bathroom, living-room, and even in the kitchen! Exposure to books throughout the day will encourage your child to read more frequently.
  3. Introduce new books. Check out your local library and let your child explore all of the books they have to offer; your child will enjoy the ability to pick and choose new books each week.
  4. Most importantly, make reading fun! Create silly voices for different characters or actions; this will help keep your child’s attention and will even encourage a giggle or two!

Physical Activity can Boost a Child’s Attention, Memory, Self-control & Goal-setting

Physical-Activity-can-Boost-a-Child

Everyone knows that physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle, but did you know that it can also go a long way toward children’s brain development? The results of several studies involving grade school children suggest that daily vigorous physical activity can greatly improve children’s development in areas such as a child’s attention, memory, self-control, strategies and goal-setting.

 

In general, these skills develop rapidly through the elementary school years and then develop at a slower pace during adolescence.[1] The more vigorous exercise a child gets, the more the development of these skills increases and is reinforced. Think of kids on the playground who learn that by pushing themselves to run faster, they can catch who’s “it.” Or consider children shooting hoops who learn that, though it may be frustrating when they miss, the more they practice, the more consistently they’ll make it.

 

One researcher suggests that:

 

…in a period when greater emphasis is being placed on preparing children to take standardized tests, these studies should give school administrators reasons to consider investing in quality physical education and vigorous activity programs, even at the expense of time spent in the classroom. Time devoted to physical activity at school does not harm academic performance and may actually improve it. [2]

 

So what can you do to help boost your child’s brain through exercise?

 

  • Train as a family for a charity run or walk
  • Celebrate special occasions—like birthday or anniversaries—with something active such as a hike, a basketball or soccer game or a bike ride.
  • Play tag, jump rope, dance, or even play a dancing video game.
  • Get Moving at your local The Little Gym

 




[1]Davis PhD, Catherine L, and Norman K Pollock Phd. "Does Physical Activity Enhance Cognition and Academic Achievement in Children? A Review." Medscape. http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/764365 (accessed February 6, 2014)

[2] Tomporowski, P.D., Lambourne, K., & Okumura, M.S. (2011). Physical activity interventions and children’s mental function: An introduction and overview. Preventive Medicine, 52(Suppl.1):S3- S9.

Pediatricians Call for Parent to Read to their Children Everyday

Pediatricians-Call-for-Parent-to-Read-to-their-Children-Everyday

Do you read aloud to your child every day? After numerous studies have been conducted to measure the importance of reading aloud to children, The American Academy of Pediatrics announced a new policy in telling parents to read aloud to their children daily.

 

Reading, singing, and talking to your child starting at birth has a significant impact on your child’s literacy development. During the first three years of a child’s life their brain is like a sponge, soaking up information and growing at a faster rate than any other time in their lives. That is why it is important to begin conversing with your child to enhance that brain development, and to ultimately set your child up for a lifetime of success.

 

The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to use the five R’s of Early Childhood Education to help boost your child’s development. The five R’s are;

 

  • Read together. Again – read aloud to your child EVERY DAY starting at birth. This will help with your child’s literacy development.
  • Rhyming, playing, talking and singing together.
  • Routines and regular times for meals, play, and sleep which allows children to know what they can expect and what is expected of them.
  • Rewards for everyday successes – praise is a great reward!
  • Relationships that are reciprocal, nurturing and enduring.

 

Reading aloud to your child daily has so many benefits that will help your child enhance their vocabulary and communication skills at a very young age. Use the 5 R’s of Early Childhood Education from The American Academy of Pediatrics to help give you ideas on how to boost your child’s development starting at birth.