The15-minutes-a-day challenge

All children benefit from a period of daily parent led, goal focused, fitness, coordination and attention training. 

This is especially true those with movement and attention difficulties, including autism. a very cautious nature, DCD, dyspraxia, sensory processing disorder, joint hypermobility, Down syndrome,  low muscle tone, and cerebral palsy, 

Why 15 minutes a day?

Because most families can manage to find a small slot of time in their busy days and just 15 minutes of focused training is enough time to make a real difference. 

15 minutes of intensive exercise is enough to improve general fitness, strength and flexibility: fit children do better academically, have more stamina for the school day and are more confident. 

Why everyday?

  • So that your dedicated training program becomes part of the daily routine, like brushing your teeth.
  • So that your training session cannot be shifted to tomorrow. 

How 15 minutes a day of goal focused training will benefit you and your child 

  1. Working towards a specific goal provides a focus for a training session and allows you and your child to experience the heady pleasure of success.A good training program divides big goals into smaller easy to achieve  goals  that allow the child to succeed every day. 
  2. Parents and children learn the value of formulating achievable goals.
  3. Parents and children experience the pleasure of doing something together in a cooperative manner.
  4. Children get to feel the mental high that comes with achieving a goal and become more willing to participate in challenging tasks in future.  
  5. Children start to understand that skills can be improved with focused practice.
  6. Children make the shift from "I cannot do this" to "I cannot do this yet – but give me time and I  will get better."  Frequent experience of success improves self-confidence and the self-efficacy.
  7. Working hard at a difficult task teaches the value of persistence and trains attention skills.
  8. Busy parents learn to focus their attention on their children and switch off their mobiles
  9. Parents learn how to motivate their children
  10. Training improves fitness and fit children are more confident and more willing to participate.
  11. Fit children also do better academically.
  12. A short bout of effortful physical activity recharges the brain.

Why parents make the best coaches 

Getting fitter and learning new skills requires dedicated and regular practice. Parents have the motivation to find time and opportunities for fitting in a short dedicated practice session or making training part of the daily routine. 

Good coaching flips the child's I-can-do-this switch to ON.

Instead of avoidance and refusal the child knows that getting better at a task is possible and requires hard work and persistence. 

Good coaches know how to provide the best possible learning environment

Thabo is having difficulties with handwriting - he is slow and the teacher is complaining about his pencil grip. He gets tired sitting and working at a table and leans on his one arm and puts his head down on the desk when writing.

The paediatrician has diagnosed "low muscle tone", but the physical therapist (PT)  using a routines and task based assessment has identified that Thabo is unfit, has some tightness in the back and hip muscles, and that his grip suits his hypermobile hands.

Together the PT, Thabo and his parents have worked out a range of different ways to increase Thabo's fitness levels and get him to be generally more active (including visits to the park and running up the stairs) and to improve his flexibility and endurance for sitting and for handwriting (10 minutes a day exercise program).

The PT also spoke to Thabo's teacher about the importance of allowing Thabo to adopt a grip that suits his hypermobile fingers and made suggestions for some graphic skills activities for the classroom to improve shoulder control for drawing and handwriting. 

Despite the pediatricians' diagnosis, low tone is not Thabo's problem - poor muscle flexibility, strength and endurance related to inactive lifestyle and avoidance of challenging task are the issue

Studies have as shown that  task based skills and fitness training approach is the most effective way to help children with movement difficulties.

Where do I start?             

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SfA Fitness and Coordination Training Guide 

All the information you need to be your child's coach and advocate. Designed by a master physical therapist
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