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Until recently we had a culture where children were very physically active. Children used the body as a means of transport, children's play was physical. Our movement culture has changed in a few decades to such an extent that we suppress children's spontaneous physical activity.

At all ages, everyday exercise is important. This means that the school child should use the body as a means of transport as far as possible and incorporate an active lifestyle - also in the smallest, because it has a great impact whether a child is active or not. Active children are more happy, have greater confidence and are better at managing stress - and they learn better.

The purpose of children's physical activity in age 6-15 is that sports and team sports contribute to the development of social skills, self-confidence and joy. At the same time, there is some evidence that children who are regularly physically active have better concentration and memory and perform better in school. Support the children's self-confidence and joy of movement and avoid living your own broken illusions through the child. It is, of course, important that the child experiences that it is fun to be active.

There is a significant health benefit by using the body as a means of transport. It is therefore important to think through the individual child's daily life with a view to whether there are transport routines that can be covered during walking or cycling. More movement in children's everyday life does not necessarily mean that the children should participate in even more activities, but implies that we recognize children's spontaneous physical activity. That we recognize their needs and desire for movement - and support it. As adults, we should refrain from suppressing children's play culture and instead support and encourage their spontaneous physical activity.

Source: The Danish National Board of Health

Excerpt from Children and Motion by Bente Klarlund Pedersen