Training These 3 Motor Skills Will Have Children Doing Better in School
Grandma and grandpa have kissed their little one and sent their jewel off to face the world. Your child is heading to school, book bag on back and lunchbox in one hand, holding tightly to yours with the other. Nervous, scared, possibly sweating profusely. You smile brightly and reassure her she will be all right. You see another parent doing the same for her son. Who would do better this year, you wonder. Who would be at the top of the class? Take a good look at the child's motor skills.
The answer to that question might just be as simple as looking at which child has better motor skills. A child who has better agility, speed and manual dexterity alongside general motor skills will do better than a child with poor results in this area, according to a new Finish study published in the Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Those in the former category have shown better results in both reading and arithmetic, with boys more likely to be affected than girls. The first mother mentioned can rest easy knowing her daughter will do better in general, her brain wired in such a way that her skills won't play as big a role in her academics. However, should the boy have been trained in these skills, he will surpass her, hands down.
Surprisingly, cardiovascular activity had little to do with the academics, discounting the belief that having children simply run around will help with their studies. Giving them sports to play, however, which involve hand-eye coordination, dexterity, agile quick movements and keeps the mind busy at the same time, will mean that by the third grade you are looking at one smart cookie with some of the highest averages in the class. This is , of course, given that the child receives proper care and nutrition, alongside the school providing adequate education.
How would you train these 3 main skills in children?
- Drills for agility include circle run and ladder tag.
- For speed, play tag games of all sorts, as well as racing games with a goal in mind.
- For dexterity, use fingers to twirl a pencil, to walk a ball up body and play around with playdough, creating all forms of figures. More dexterity activities found here.
- Play soccer with the family.
- Put up a basketball net and set new goals for the child to reach.
- Baseball will strengthen all skills with all the catching, pitching, running around in time.
In essence, I believe that the more time a parent spends with a child actually playing physical games, the better that child will do in school. After all, interactions are important skills to learn as well and a happy child is a healthy child who will be more confident in his or her abilities to ace school. I believe in working not just on one's social skills, as many parents are apt to do, but on the physical abilities of that child which inadvertently affect the cognitive as well.
On a different note, there are other ways to help boost math and language skills, including some very simple everyday number games and musical education. Take a child shopping and allow them to do some calculations with you, teach them to follow a beat or play the piano, sit down for a game of snakes and ladders; all of these will help your little one top his or her class.
For me, I play soccer with the kids. Personally loving the sport, I can integrate watching and pointing out mistakes that seasoned players make, while incorporating all forms of make-believe which only add to the vivid and boundless imagination of a child. The focus should be on the child as a whole and not as a part. The teacher in me will always recommend any form of activity that will help a student do better in class, most especially if it involves physical movement to hone motor skills.