“How was your day?”
“I don’t remember.”
If that conversation sounds familiar, I bet you’re a parent with school aged children. We get thousands of parents through our doors each week at The Little Gym, and it’s a familiar tale!
Our children come out of school, and we’re desperate to hear about their day. What did they do? Who did they play with? Did anything exciting happen? Tell me… just please tell me … I NEED TO KNOW!
Some children bounce out of school and they’re a waterfall of gossip, experiences, struggles and fun. But many seem to remember nothing at the end of the day, and all parents get is ‘I don’t remember’, ‘Nothing’, or the dreaded ‘Fine’.
We sometimes forget that their little brains are busy processing hundreds, if not thousands, of new experiences every day. And that can take a lot of energy, making them tired and hungry at the exact time we want to hear about their day.
It can also lead to pent-up energy, and they can need some space to get that out of their systems too – we get a lot of parents ask us to help with that challenge at The Little Gym!
So how do we open the channel of communication in a way that encourages our little ones to share, without pressuring them with our thirst for information?
Here are seven simple tricks from The Little Gym Windsor that might help you get some fabulous school stories out of your little one this month:
Greet them with the biggest smile you can muster. Let them know that you’re over the moon to see them. Greet them with a big smile. Give them an enormous hug. Swing them around if they’re little. Try doing this before you ask about their day.
Keep questions small. Questions like “How was your day?” are too broad – you’ll just get “Fine”. Cue frustrated parent and un-engaged child. Narrow your questions, and make them specific. “What made you laugh today?” “What games did you play?”
Give them time to unwind. They’ve had a busy day. Listening to teachers. Running around. Making their brain work in ways it may never have before. It takes a lot of energy! Give them food, and let them process the day, unwind, and recoup their energy.
Tell them a funny story. Did something funny happen to you today? Did toilet paper get stuck to your shoe? Did someone sneeze like an elephant on the train? Tell them! Making children laugh is a great way to open a line of communication.
Learn about your child’s life at school. If you know they’re doing PE on Wednesday, or their teacher reads stories each Thursday, you’ll have an instant connection with their day. “What story did Mrs Feeney read, was it about aliens?” “Noooo… silly…. It was about a kangaroo!”
Listen. Give your little one space to talk at their own pace, and in their own way. Try not to jump in – as strong as the urge sometimes is. Let the talk emerge and flow naturally. They will want to talk more!
Make special time. If you can sit down and snuggle, they’ll love the intimacy and often be more inclined to share. This could be a special 10 minutes after they’ve had a snack, or it could be just after bath time. Whatever time works for your family. But if you can find that 10 minutes, there the magic might lie to learning all about their day, laughs, likes, and worries.
We are excited to announce that The Little Gym Windsor will open on 22nd November, 2017.
Our first semester will run from 22nd November 2017 to 18 February 2018. That’s 11 weeks of fun gymnastics classes with a difference -- developing your child’s body, brain, and social and emotional skills.
All of our classes have been developed with an age-appropriate curriculum designed to nurture growth at each stage of childhood development. Children from the age of 10-months to 12-years come to us for a class a week, sometimes more, and we focus on developing the whole child.
We get them moving, learning gymnastics, and developing their motor skills, balance and coordination. The bonus… we also build their confidence, courage, resilience, focus, concentration, listening skills, friendship skills, team work, and so much more -- skills designed to help them succeed in whatever comes their way.
Importantly, we are non-competitive and 100% inclusive. It doesn’t matter if your child is great at sport, or still finding their moving mojo. We pride ourselves on being totally inclusive. Our teachers get to know what success means to every child in our small classes. And we keep every child challenged at the right level for them as individuals – whether they’re mastering a back flip or somersault, or learning their first forward roll or cartwheel.
This all sounds very serious. But only Mum, Dad and our teachers know how serious it is. The kids are just having a blast running, rolling, swinging, flipping and spinning around the gym with our fun-filled teachers. Children learn best when they’re challenged and having fun!
Come and try us out. Let us put an invisible cloak of confidence on your child. We’ll put it on in the gym, tie it up, and encourage them to leave wearing it. They’ll wear it home, to the park, day care, pre-school, school, and everywhere they go. And when they come back the next week, we’ll adjust it, tighten the straps, and put it back on if it has fallen off – sending them off into the world each week with renewed confidence, courage, and self-esteem. And an irresistible big super hero grin on their face!
We’re thrilled to be transforming the old Chicago’s Nightclub into an oasis for children and families right in the heart of Windsor. There will still be dancing feet, they’ll just be a lot smaller – and they’ll be flying through the air, not just dancing on the ground!
The Little Gym Windsor will be big, colourful, warm and welcoming. We’re turning nearly 5,000 square feet into a big gymnastics and child development facility with plenty of space for children to run, jump, roll, swing, tumble and flip. Your child will get moving, go on exciting adventures, tap into their imagination, and build their bodies, confidence and courage on our state-of-the-art gymnastics equipment. They’ll swing around the uneven bars, balance on the beam, flying across our vault, and tumbling across our floor.
We’re definitely NOT forgetting the parents – you guys are important too! As Mums, we know how hard parents work – there is always something to juggle, organise, manage or consider! We want The Little Gym Windsor to be a rewarding experience for you too, an opportunity for down-time, socialising, and a bit of parental pride as a bonus!
Our spacious lobby is designed with families in mind. We have everything parents and children need to be comfortable – from bright sofas to tables and chairs, a fully kitted-out kitchen, play area for siblings, and even a break out area for Mums and Dads groups.
Parents can watch their children doing gymnastics through our beautiful glass wall, you can have a chat with your friends over a cup of coffee, fall asleep on the sofa (it happens, just ask my husband!), work, duck out to the shops or work out around the corner in the gym for an hour!
The world is your oyster as a parent in the oasis we are creating for children and parents on William Street.
We are so excited to be transforming the old Chicago’s into The Little Gym Windsor. Our builders are going in next week, and we want to let you see the transformation with your very own eyes.
Follow us on Facebook to see The Little Gym Windsor transform from bare concrete into our bright, welcoming and colourful home in William Street!
We have four children between our two families and they all went to The Little Gym. Not long after they started, we saw big changes that really impacted our two families… and we want to tell you one of our personal stories.
Our four children are all different. The biggest contrast is between our sons. My son is incredibly shy, and Andi’s son naturally brims with confidence. One of the things we noticed immediately was how quickly the The Little Gym got to know, and celebrate, our boys as individuals.
Andi’s son ran into class by himself and didn’t look back. And the teachers understood him straight away. They nurtured his wonderful confidence, channelled his energy, and developed his listening skills, focus and concentration. The teachers gave him challenges and adventures he thrived on, and he just blossomed in the classes.
My little boy blossomed in a different way. Naturally shy, he found it impossible to go into his first class by himself at three years old. He hid behind my skirt, and held onto me with a vice-like grip. He did this at any activity I took him to – we just couldn’t find a place where he would settle.
The difference at The Little Gym was the teachers. They immediately understood and genuinely cared about our situation. I was welcomed into the class -- the 5-foot-8 Mummy sitting with all the four-year olds – and neither my son nor I felt exposed or singled out. We just felt supported, like the teachers and I were a team helping my son to grow and develop.
For six weeks, the teachers worked with my son and I to build his confidence and courage to go into the class by himself. They developed a system of hand signals that he could use to get reassurance from me – our ‘thumbs up’ system – and I was gradually able to leave the room.
It was amazing. Suddenly, my impossibly shy little boy developed the confidence to go into an activity by himself! And he carried that confidence from The Little Gym into the rest of his life – now, he would happily go into a couple of other activities too – as long as we used The Little Gym ‘thumbs up’!!
Being embraced for who we were, and truly feeling like we were valued and important – was an incredible feeling. The teacher’s understanding of his needs, and our needs, during that transition in his development was incredible and they earned our love for it.
Thanks to their patience and support, I now had a happy little boy that couldn’t wait to go back every week, and who had the courage to try other news things as well. A whole new world opened for him.
Andi and I decided that we wanted to make this difference to parents and children too, nurturing families in our own The Little Gym.
In our gym, we want every child at every age to feel loved and valued, boosting their self-esteem and confidence individually. We want to build their bodies, their brains, and their social and emotional skills, helping to build a foundation of skills that will last a life time.
And we want them to have FUN – that’s when they learn best! Throwing on an imaginary cape and feeling their feet fly as they master their first forward roll, cartwheel, somersault or flip. We want them to float on a happy, confident cloud every single time they leave the gym, taking that imaginary cloak of confidence with them to day care, school, home, the park… everywhere!
Check out the schedule here!
Thanks for letting us share one of our stories. We can’t wait to welcome your family to The Little Gym Windsor, and we hope to see your child's eyes sparkling with fun and confidence in our gym this November!
Team up with The Little Gym Europe and become an owner of a franchise for children by bringing ‘Serious Fun’ to the children in your own community!
The Little Gym® prepares kids – and kids at heart – for life’s adventures. We promote growth in individuals, families and our communities by serving as a trusted partner on the journey of developing well-rounded, confident kids. You could be next!
We’re continuously looking for passionate and motivated entrepreneurs to join our family. Whether you’re looking to open a new location or are interested in an opportunity within an existing location, there are plenty of ways to become a The Little Gym® franchise owner.
Take the next step! We make it easy to become a franchise owner to bring The Little Gym programmes to more children in more communities.
LEARN MORE NOW!
The times, they’re changing, and it’s becoming even more difficult to keep our kids engaged, happy, and well, out of our hair. I know I’m not alone when I say that I have used my friends: television, computer, and tablet as a distraction for my children when I need 30 minutes of peace.
As parents, we know it’s not always easy, but are kids being exposed to too much technology? According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children spend an average of 7 hours a day using media including television, computer, internet, video games, and cell phones. In an ever growing media driven world, it’s becoming even more important to make sure your child is getting active every day.
So, how can you encourage your child to get active? Show them that being active is fun! Exercise as a family by going for a nightly walk, jog, or having a family soccer game in the back yard. You can also get your children involved in activities outside of the home like The Little Gym to help them appreciate a healthy and active lifestyle for years to come. Whether you’re running, jumping, or tumbling, get moving with your child to build the foundation for a lifetime of healthy habits!
You know how important it is that your kids eat a healthy dinner every night and we know how hard it is to get your kids to eat the food you want them to eat. If you’re tired of mac & cheese and frozen chicken nuggets, here’s a list of our top five healthy dinners that the whole family will enjoy.
Do children need chores? According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, young children who are given household chores “build a lasting sense or mastery, responsibility and self-reliance.” And what parent doesn’t want that for their child?
The article also found that those who began chores around ages 3 and 4 were more likely to have positive relationships with their families, higher academic success and were also found to be more empathetic and responsive to others needs. Need we say more? Check out these 5 ideas for encouraging your child to help out around the house:
To read the full article, click here.
The Little Gym helps kids develop social skills, which studies find may be the most important factor for long-term success.
Science has confirmed it: nice guys don’t finish last. At least not according to a new study which suggests that kindergarten students who display pro-social behavior may be more likely to graduate college and have steady jobs. The 20 year national study tracked more than 700 children from kindergarten through age 25. The researchers found that young children that scored highest in social competence skills, such as sharing, taking turns, and listening, were four times more likely to graduate from college than those who did not. The study also found that, in some cases, these types of social skills may be better predictors of future success than academic skills.
Positive social skills are something that can be learned and improved upon throughout childhood. Programs at The Little Gym help children grow and develop social skills in a fun environment that provides a different context for learning. Games are purposefully designed to enhance social development and the non-competitive environment encourages children to play with each other rather than against each other. Children learn to become more considerate of one another, more aware of the feelings of others, and more willing to work together for mutual benefit. These essential life skills help children learn how to interact in positive and socially acceptable ways which helps them become well-rounded little people so that, as research now confirms, they grow into well-rounded adults.
Good manners are not something that children will naturally pick up. Children need to be taught, reminded, and reminded again of the importance of having good manners. Good manners help children become well-rounded adults. The trick is to teach your child manners that are age-appropriate so they are able to understand why manners are SO important! Here are 6 manners that are at the top of our good-manners list.
Practice makes perfect – keep practicing and reminding your child of the importance of having good manners. Be repetitive, if your child does not say please then simply make them ‘say the magic word’ and they will begin to catch on! Often times role-playing is a great way to have your child experience the appropriate way to act in certain situations. Great manners go a long way and it is best to begin good practices at a young age!
It starts with a sniffle – next thing you know, the whole household is sneezing, coughing, and passing tissues. If you’re feeling confused about how to treat colds and the flu, you’re not alone. Separate the facts from the fiction and check out the top 3 cold and flu related myths.
Myth #1: The flu vaccine causes the flu: Getting a flu shot may cause symptoms that feel like the flu, but the viruses contained in the flu shots have been killed, or “inactivated.” which means they can’t cause infection. While there may be some achy side effects that can sometimes follow the flu shot, it just means your immune system is responding and processing the vaccine.
Myth #2: You’re more likely to get sick if you’re cold: Despite mom’s warnings that you should bundle up, being cold does not cause a cold. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, infections prevail in winter months because they are spread when more people stay indoors for longer periods of time and are in closer contact with each other.
Myth #3: Hugging and kissing are great ways to spread cold and flu germs: Cold and flu viruses like to enter the body through the nose or eyes, so a hug or a peck on the cheek isn’t likely to be dangerous. Don’t be afraid to give your sick child plenty of affection, and don’t worry that a kiss or hug will spread your germs to him (or vice-versa).
Many parents recognize The Little Gym as a safe and clean place in which to bring their children. We work hard to ensure each and every visit lives up to your expectations. Daily and weekly cleaning and sanitation helps keep our environment sparkly and keeps the germs away. And if your child is feeling a little under the weather, our generous make-up policy allows you to attend a make-up class by simply calling us prior to the absence.
Parents are a child’s greatest influence. As a parent, there are many things you can be doing to establish and strengthen your child’s confidence. Here are 6 tips for strengthening your child’s confidence.
Building self-confidence begins very early in life, it is important to set your child up for success. Use these simple tips to help your child become more confident.
It’s no secret that reading to your child is a good thing – but do you know the positive effects reading has on your child’s development now and in the future? According to a recent study in Time Magazine, reading at home with your child early and often activates the part of the brain that allows them to understand the meaning of language. The study also added that reading has been proven to expand a child’s vocabulary and helps to strengthen the bond between parent and child! Need we say more? Check out these four tips to help make reading together a daily habit:
Everyone knows that physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle, but did you know that it can also go a long way toward children’s brain development? The results of several studies involving grade school children suggest that daily vigorous physical activity can greatly improve children’s development in areas such as a child’s attention, memory, self-control, strategies and goal-setting.
In general, these skills develop rapidly through the elementary school years and then develop at a slower pace during adolescence. The more vigorous exercise a child gets, the more the development of these skills increases and is reinforced. Think of kids on the playground who learn that by pushing themselves to run faster, they can catch who’s “it.” Or consider children shooting hoops who learn that, though it may be frustrating when they miss, the more they practice, the more consistently they’ll make it.
One researcher suggests that:
…in a period when greater emphasis is being placed on preparing children to take standardized tests, these studies should give school administrators reasons to consider investing in quality physical education and vigorous activity programs, even at the expense of time spent in the classroom. Time devoted to physical activity at school does not harm academic performance and may actually improve it. 
So what can you do to help boost your child’s brain through exercise?
Do you read aloud to your child every day? After numerous studies have been conducted to measure the importance of reading aloud to children, The American Academy of Pediatrics announced a new policy in telling parents to read aloud to their children daily.
Reading, singing, and talking to your child starting at birth has a significant impact on your child’s literacy development. During the first three years of a child’s life their brain is like a sponge, soaking up information and growing at a faster rate than any other time in their lives. That is why it is important to begin conversing with your child to enhance that brain development, and to ultimately set your child up for a lifetime of success.
The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to use the five R’s of Early Childhood Education to help boost your child’s development. The five R’s are;
Reading aloud to your child daily has so many benefits that will help your child enhance their vocabulary and communication skills at a very young age. Use the 5 R’s of Early Childhood Education from The American Academy of Pediatrics to help give you ideas on how to boost your child’s development starting at birth.
Imaginative play is more than just fun and games. In fact, young children learn by expressing their imagination. Picture a child caring for a doll or stuffed animal, or a child pretending to be a fireman and saving the day. These children are creating life-like scenarios and acting them out. With pretend play, children are able to take on different roles, giving them the unique opportunity to learn social skills, problem solving skills, communication, and empathy.
How can you encourage your child to use their imagination? Join the fun! Observe your child’s interest and get on their level, sit face to face with your child and imitate his actions. Keep it simple and take turns. Your child will likely mimic your actions as well. Let your child’s imagination run wild and get playing today!
In this day and age, it is impossible for children not to be exposed to screen time. From tablets, phones, computers, and television, technology is everywhere. But how much screen time, if any is appropriate for young children?
According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, “Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. A child's brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.”
As easy as it may be to place your child in front of a screen, there is no evidence showing that electronic media has developmental benefit. Instead, put the electronics away and offer your child non-electronic formats of fun such as books, board games, and active play. Taking a “electronic diet” doesn’t need to be grueling, rather see the developmental benefits in limiting screen time now and in the long run.
Read the entire article from The American Academy of Pediatrics here: http://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/pages/media-and-children.aspx
Making friends as a new mom is not always an easy feat. It’s like standing in the cafeteria on the first day of school surrounded by strangers wondering where you fit in – but this time you’re at the playground, you have a baby on your hip, you just finished singing “The Wheels on the Bus” for the 1000th time, and you just want to have an adult conversation. Is that too much to ask?!
Whether you’re at the grocery store, the playground, or at The Little Gym, as a new mom you’re constantly scoping out potential mom friends, eager to strike up a conversation about ANYTHING. No matter where you are, making new mom friends does not have to increase panic or stress. Here are 5 tips for making mom friends with ease.
Finding new mom friends may not always be simple, but having one or two really awesome mom friends can make a world of a difference. So the next time you’re at the grocery store, playground, or even your local The Little Gym, don’t be shy – strike up conversation and see where it takes you! There are plenty of fish in the sea and soon enough you will have a group of great mom friends that will last a lifetime.