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Changing family relationship with physical activity

BURSTS blog family relationships

Let’s fundamentally change the family relationship with physical activity so that we can help EVERY child develop the confidence, skills, and enjoyment they need and deserve to be happy, active, healthy and successful. 

Back in the early 2000s, I used to start all my keynote presentations with a short video compilation of Takeshi Castle, a Japanese game that aired between 1986 and 1990, and which was being rerun on Channel 4. 

It’s not as brutal as the South Korean ‘Squid Games’ survival drama, but it involved 100 contestants with the number being whittled down in a series of active games. Some involved skill and others luck, but all elimination involved a variety of pain and humiliation.

It reminded me of the UK’s PE and Sport system of successfully reducing the number of physically active people during their school life, many of whom have specific memories of why or when it happened. For every 100 children who start their lives loving physical movement and curious to learn more, we find a way to turn most of them off it until only 25-30 remain active post-secondary school age. 

I’ve written much around the failings of secondary schools’ traditional PE approaches since those key notes, but it should be noted that many primary schools have adopted successful inclusive approaches to physical education over the last few decades. 

However, unlike earlier generations, children are now less active outside of school. As a result, they are not developing the physical literacy that should be a right for EVERY child. Too many children are deciding early that physical activity and PE is not for them.

The ‘final frontier’ (as my business partner John Parsons calls it) though is to successfully achieve early engagement with families. We can help influential ‘grown ups’ to support us to nurture a life-long love of activity and establish essential movement foundations that will help stop so many children being ‘out’ following their first ‘Takeshi’ game. 

Carers, parents, and grandparents desperately want to give their children the best possible start and set them on a healthy flight path. But many are burdened and scarred by their own poor physical activity experiences and feel overwhelmed and unsure about how best to play with their children. 

We can give them the knowledge and confidence to engage in positive physical activity with their children at home. We can better explain the why and equip them with rich ideas of the how and what. 

Join us in helping schools inspire families through inclusive high-tech and low-tech solutions, equipping them with fun, thematic, personalised, and progressive activities to transform their confidence to enjoy active play. The grown-ups themselves can experience the joyful connectivity that comes with playing together. And for the children - a direct impact on their relationship with physical activity, their progress, health and well-being. 

We must be ambitious for families; they are far too important to be left to chance. Let’s redefine what’s possible by creating a better team between school and home, helping create a new culture where physical activity becomes a normal part of family life. 


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