Parents are a child’s first – and best – teachers.
A parent can have a positive influence on physical activity by simply setting aside a few minutes each day to introduce new skills and play with their child. Take for example the basic skill of jumping rope. Jumping rope has always been part of the culture of childhood. Even children as young as three can learn the movement patterns involved in swinging a rope and jumping. By the time they are five most children can turn the rope and jump several times in a row.
The Basics of Teaching Jump Rope
A jump rope seven feet long with plastic beads along its length is most appropriate for young children. The plastic beads give extra weight to help a child swing the rope over the head. A longer rope tends to tangle. To assist young children in learning to jump rope parents can provide children with the following instructions:
- “Hold your rope by both handles in front of your body with thumbs on top pointing down.”
- “Make sure that the middle of the rope is flat on the floor.”
- “Step over your rope”
- “Bend your elbows up to your ears”
- “Move your arms forward and swing the rope over your head”
- “Let the rope hit the floor”
- “Jump over the rope, take off and land on two feet.”
Ask your child not to jump while the rope is in the air. Children will sometimes do this and lose their balance. The rope should strike the floor in front of the child before the child jumps. Children learning to jump need to jump off two feet and land on two feet to help them stay on balance.
In as little as five minutes a day your child can develop the skills to jump rope and build the self confidence and desire to want to turn off the video game and go outside and play. Whatever the skill or physical activity, from throwing a ball to jumping rope, the most important ingredient needed to help your child develop a foundation of physical skills is for you to set aside time each day to play with your child.
Have fun jumping rope, and check out this episode of The Gumbo Gang…it’s all about jumping rope!