As a parent, you want to do what’s best for your children. Part of this is making sure they’re healthy, which includes their flexibility. We’ll show you how to make improving their flexibility a part of their daily routine, because it’s not just about being able to touch their toes—flexibility can prevent injuries, increase range of motion, and improve performance in athletics.
Keep It Consistent
Just as with any other skill, mastering flexibility takes time and practice. It’s something your children should work on consistently so that they can get better at it over time. Create a bedtime or morning routine that includes stretching. Find fun ways to track their daily practice, and keep track of any milestone goals you set ahead of time. You could offer prizes to motivate them on days when the dedication just isn’t there—a new leotard or a day at the local trampoline park could be just the thing to reward them for their consistent work.
Bend and Stretch
Stretching is a great way to introduce flexibility to your kids. Stretching prepares the body for physical activity by increasing blood flow and relaxing the muscles so that one can move freely during the activity. It also helps with recovery after exercise, reducing muscle soreness.
Convincing your kids that stretching is fun might seem like an overwhelming task, but there are some easy, fun ways you can improve flexibility in your children. Introducing fun flexibility equipment such as stretch bands and rollers is a great start. You can also lead by example; kids watch everything their parents do, so show them how important it is to stretch before exercise or playtime begins. And finally, make sure they understand why flexibility matters in sports and other activities. If kids understand why they need flexibility, they’ll be more likely to keep up the good habits on their own.
One of the easiest ways to improve your children’s flexibility is to keep them hydrated. They should drink water before, during, and after exercising. This will prevent muscle fatigue and keep their body temperature balanced. Avoid giving them sugary drinks such as soda or juice, which can cause dehydration and make flexibility more difficult.
Your kids should also drink more water when it’s hot outside because the heat and dehydration can make muscles less elastic and cause them to cramp up. If your kids are playing out in the heat, remind them to drink small amounts of water throughout the day.
Stretching, drinking enough water, and staying consistent with training are effective ways to improve your children’s flexibility. Start by keeping the routine light and enjoyable so that your kids will continue to practice on their own without your direct guidance. You could be setting them up for future success as the next Simone Biles, Misty Copeland, or Michael Strahan. Or, at the very least, you can save yourself some trips to urgent care because you were proactive about your children’s range of motion today.