Helping kids return to sport after lockdown

Helping kids return to sport after lockdown

News & Events

Helping kids return to sport after lockdown

06 September 2021

You know physical activity is important for your kids. You know that staying active keeps them healthy. It helps them to burn off all their excess energy so they are well and truly ready for sleep when bedtime rolls around. It gives them a sense of accomplishment and excitement, it builds social skills and sets them on the right path for a healthy future. 

None of this is more evident than during a lockdown when your kids can’t be as physically active as they usually would be.

The lockdown effect

If you’re concerned about how much physical activity your kids are getting during lockdown, you’re not alone. The reality is that research from around the world has shown that lockdowns are connected with reduced physical activity for kids.

Canadian researchers found that just 23.8% of children (aged 5-11 years) and 13.2% of youth (aged 12-17 years) met the physical activity recommendations during lockdowns. Likewise, a study in the UK found that just under 19% of children did 60 minutes or more of physical activity per day during lockdown. Worryingly, 7% reported doing nothing to stay active.

For Australian parents, a 2021 survey revealed that kids not getting enough exercise is in the top 10 concerns parents have about the health of their children. In fact, 1 in 8 parents reported that lack of exercise and physical activity is a big problem for their children.

Research in both Australia and the UK has reported on the mental health impacts of children experiencing prolonged lockdowns. Home learning and no access to friends and extended family have exacerbated the problems. 

How much physical activity do kids need?

The Australian government physical activity guidelines recommend that:

  • Toddlers aged 1-2 years get a total of at least 3 hours of various physical activities throughout each day.
  • Preschoolers aged 3-5 years should be active for at least 3 hours each day, including 1 hour of energetic play.
  • Children and young people ages 5-17 years should do at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day, including muscle and bone strengthening activities 3 days per week plus several hours of light physical activities each day.

It seems a lot but when you consider things like walking to school, playing at recess and lunch, school sport, playing with friends after school and organised sport activities, the minutes and hours quickly add up. 

The benefit of sport and physical activity isn’t just for health. Sport also has a positive impact on mental health, no matter what age you are. 

Getting kids back on track

“Lockdowns have been challenging for us all,” says Peter Nikolakopoulos, CEO and Founder of Sport Star Academy. “We have worked with families and children to provide online lessons. We have continued to motivate and encourage them to reach their physical activity goals and stay fit and well through a very difficult time. We recognise that mental health for kids is a major concern for many parents at the moment and getting back to sport is so beneficial in so many ways. 

“But we’re also firmly focused on the future. What we know from each lockdown we’ve been through is that as soon as restrictions ease, kids want to get back out there and return to the sports they love. And parents want that too!”

Maybe lockdown has been an eye opening experience for you about just how much physical activity your kids need and how much their mental health has suffered. Or perhaps your kids are looking for a new challenge or to step straight back into a sport they love.

We’re an agile organisation embedded in the communities in which we operate. Our programs operate all year round so even if you’ve missed the soccer season, or whatever sport it is that your kids play, we have a program available. All ages, seven days a week. We also have our online library of videos to support kids at whatever stage they are at, lockdown or otherwise.

The movement of change starts here

We can’t change what has happened. We can’t lift restrictions or make it all go away. But what we can do is start planning to get our kids active. No matter when, no matter where, we’re here for you. Browse our programs near you to get started.