What Do You Know About PE for Kids?
Experts answer parents’ questions about kids and gym classes.
What Are the Signs of a Quality PE Program?
First, the students shouldn’t be standing around. PE classes should keep kids active for at least 50% or more of the time they are in class.
It’s also important that there is enough equipment for every child to use and that the instructor is qualified to teach PE.
My Child Doesn’t Like PE Class. What Can I Do to Help?
Having fun is the ultimate goal, says Richardson. If your child isn’t having a good time, try these strategies:
Ask your child what he doesn’t like about PE. Then you can talk with his PE teacher to try to find something he will enjoy. “The PE teacher’s job is to ensure that every child is successful at his or her own level,” Richardson says.
Find out what your child is doing in PE and help her practice those skills at home. Simple activities, such as kicking or throwing a ball with your child, can help build her confidence.
Be a role model. By being active with your child, you can show him that it’s fun to exercise.
Encourage your child to stick with it. If she really hates PE, you may be tempted to have her excused from gym classes. But experts say it’s not a good idea. “Instead, we encourage parents to work with their child and the school to find an activity the child can participate in,” Richardson says.
What’s Better for My Child, PE or Playing Sports?
“The goal of team sports is very different from the goal of PE,” Richardson says. “Team sports prepare children to play one sport. Physical education gives kids a wider variety of skills to help them learn to live an active lifestyle.”
PE also provides a chance for children to work together with kids who have different abilities and different interests. So rather than choosing sports over PE, it’s a good idea to encourage both.
How Can Parents Advocate for PE in School?
If you are concerned that your child is not getting any PE instruction or not enough, talk to his teacher and the school principal. Here are some other ways you can advocate for quality PE time:
Join a school committee or council devoted to creating a strong health curriculum.
Help your school raise money for PE instruction.
Visit PE4life.org to learn about advocating for an innovative PE curriculum at your school.
Emphasize physical activity at home.