The Impact of Praise

As the age old saying goes; “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!” However, it is important not to overlook the impact words can have on our young ones, especially positive ones!

Naturally, as parents we want to tell the world about every small milestone our child achieves, but not only should we be sharing this with others, most importantly we should be praising our children themselves.

Praising your child can come in many forms; a cuddle, a high 5, a new toy, a golden star, but sometimes it is the words they hear that can have the most profound impact. When a child experiences positive reinforcement about something they have achieved, this can increase the likeliness of this behaviour being repeated.

Using sincere and honest praise is a gateway to increasing your child’s self-esteem and motivation. Noticing their behaviour has been recognised can encourage them to exhibit this behaviour again as opposed to the negative language associated with bad behaviour. Of course, we have to manage the fine line of praising and over indulging our little ones with praise. Often giving your child feedback about why what they have done is positive can help to prevent this.

Similarly, ensure to praise effort as well as outcome, this will help children to understand they must endure a process that leads them to a positive result. Praising just a singular skill or ability does not help them to understand so easily. For example, in SoccerDays classes we aim to use praise such as “your dribbling has improved so much this session, that helped you to take on the defender and score” rather than “great goal” that just focuses on the outcome.

Science also suggests that praise leads to an increase in dopamine in the brain, this increase will hopefully lead to the child themselves having more positivity to share with their friends, helping them to become friendly and supportive individuals.

Praise is a sure way to put a smile on your little ones face as well as yours when you are beaming with pride at their achievements! However small or big, helping your child to understand emotions by sharing yours with them will be a life skill they carry with them forever.

Why parents should encourage their children to play sport.

When becoming a parent, it is fair to say that we want to give our children everything we can, that will allow them to grow up as happy, healthy and independent young people. That said, it is a real hard job to do that all ourselves, and that we can still give our young ones all these opportunities and attributes but perhaps through different ways. This is where sport comes in to save the day!

There are endless benefits to participating in sport and physical activity for young people, so much so we could write a book! As busy parents, sometimes the time to read a book is hard to find, so we have made a quick roundup of why parents should encourage children to play sport.

S – Social skills

in 2019, there is pretty much a sport out there for everyone! Finding a club or a team that your child has a genuine interest in can help them develop their social skills with likeminded youngsters as they start their sporting journey’s together. You will find them having heaps to speak about, and with a wide range of children from all different backgrounds. Sport can be an excellent way to promote social skills and communication, that is so essential in life!

P – Physical Health

participating in sport from a young age is likely to have many many benefits to your child’s health. Helping improve their fitness, balance, coordination and strength, your little one will grow to being a healthy young person.  Children benefit from these physical fitness attributes as they go through school life, engaging in PE and play in the playgrounds and later on in life it is likely they will maintain this physical lifestyle if instilled from a young age.

O – Organisation

As independence grows through sport, so will organisation. When children develop their interest in a sport it is likely they will be thinking non-stop about it. Sport requires organisation to run effectively, surrounding young ones in this environment will help make organisation become second nature to them. Who knows, maybe they will even start laying out their kit and cleaning their own football boots for Saturday morning football club…

R – Resilience

Sport teaches everyone that you lose some, and you win some. Facing set backs and achieving goals come hand in hand and develop the resilience of an individual. Being able to take feedback on board is part of being a resilient character, showing the ability to bounce back no matter what you have faced.

T – Team work

The age old saying ‘There is no I in team’ tells us exactly why sport is great at developing team work. Children are constantly in environments where they have to work together, by engaging in sport they are going to become an even better team player. Learning skills such as listening, negotiating, caring and taking the lead are all imperative in team sports. And what better feeling than achieving something after hard team work!

Don’t hang about, get your child involved in sport today, and watch the benefits last a lifetime!

Magical Motor Skills

The development of our young ones in their early years certainly flashes before our eyes. One day it’s all hands and knee’s and the next we are speeding after them. Whilst a lot of this development is of course down to great parenting, we also have science to thank for the fast evolution of young children.

Motor skills are learned movements that the body produces. Even by the age of 4 months, your baby could be showing off their learned motor skills, rolling from side to side. For the rest of their lives, this is a movement they will know how to process in their brains, and therefore produce! Pretty amazing, hey? Motor skills can even be broken into two categories; gross and fine. As you might expect, gross describes the larger muscle movements such as running, jumping and crawling. Whereas fine describes smaller movements often involving the fingers or toes.

As children begin to grow bigger, as does their repertoire of motor skills. This development means they are able to start taking part in activities that will strengthen and develop these skills even further. This is because over time, basic motor skills such as walking, moving arms and shaking the head can combine to master more complex skills such as kicking and throwing.

Kicking is certainly an important motor skill to us here at SoccerDays, but as well as kicking, our exciting classes encourage young ones to build and develop a wide range of their motor skills such as running, jumping, changing direction and balancing.

As well as this, our fun and engaging activities develops spatial awareness, and build children’s confidence too.

Football Parties for Kids

Sweet 16 parties are are elaborate and costly – and are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Instead, we see our children attending a complete mix bag of exciting and diverse birthday parties from a much younger age, including go-karting, discos, pool parties and days out.

Oh to be a child again, with no worries in the world and non-stop parties on the social calendar. As a parent it can certainly feel like your little one’s social life is over-taking your own, but with such choice on offer it is hard to see why it wouldn’t be. Whether your child be an animal lover, a pamper queen or a keen footballer, there seems to be children’s parties to fit all bills. Bringing your child’s favourite cartoon character to them for their fifth birthday party is certainly a moment you probably will not forget as their smile beams from east to west.

Themed Children’s Birthday Parties

In more recent years, themed children’s birthday parties have become a popular venture for entrepreneurs, consequently making it fiercely competitive. Themed birthday parties can be as extravagant or as unique as you want – popular themed parties include princess parties, spa parties, trampoline parks and a cupcake decorating party!

With such a breadth on offer, it can be hard to choose just what party will put a smile on lots of little faces.

Over the pond, there have been stories of parents installing ice rinks in their own homes just to satisfy their child’s birthday needs. However, here at SoccerDays, we see no reason to make such a grand gesture and take pride in our somewhat smaller yet just as fun birthday parties!

Book A SoccerDays Football Birthday Party

Our football birthday parties are for children aged 3-7 years, involving fun-filled party games, music, competitions and lots of prizes!

Catering for up to 25 children, two of our amazing FA qualified coaches will bring you all the quality coaching from our classes with some extra thrill & a sprinkle of magic to give your child a birthday they will never forget.

Boys and girls will have the best time at our football birthday parties, with prizes and goodies for everyone – no child will go home empty handed! We have plenty of party games to play, including Footballs & Statues, Footy Favourites, Frantic Fans and Greatest Goals. We’ll end the party with a football competition and a well-deserved presentation with certificates, prize giving and a special SoccerDays birthday medal for the birthday child!

Read our birthday fact sheet for more information on turning your child’s dream birthday into a reality!

Here To Stick Around

It is easy to overlook stickers as something we give to amuse our little ones for a moment’s peace and quiet. For something so simple, easy and cheap, stickers bring more to the development of young children than first meets the eye.

A bright and eye-catching stimulus, the sticker comes in a range of different formats. If you walk into a local supermarket or toy store, it is likely you can find a sticker for just about any childhood interest. With stickers coming in the shape of dinosaurs, burgers, fire engines and tiara’s, they are definitely catering to the masses.

Reasons Why Every Child Should Play with Stickers

Playing with stickers can help children develop so many skills, not forgetting stickers can help to bring big smiles to the faces of kids of all ages!

For some children, stickers can help to improve their grasp. Stickers can be really fiddly to use, so teaching children how to hold a sheet and peel back something fiddly is a skill worth learning. Stickers also encourage bilateral hand coordination skills for many functional tasks, including zipping up a coat and cutting with scissors. Stickers also encourage sensory exploration, including discovering textures of smooth, scratchy and fuzzy.

Children need strength in the small muscles of their hands to carry out tasks such as holding a pencil and doing up buttons, so with stickers being as small as they are, children can build up their strength with the fiddly activity.

Developing Skills at A Young Age

In order to grow and develop as a child, it is essential that the environment around us stimulate the brain. If we delve into the science side of things, connections between brain cells develop extensively up to the age of 5. These connections are called synapses. Medical evidence suggests that a child’s later intelligence is heavily based around the synapses they have developed at an earlier stage in life. Stickers have been told to help develop these connections as collecting and playing with them leads children to think about colour correlations and sizing of the stickers, they may then progress onto ordering these and creating their own logic in their mind. In addition to this, fine motor skills will be developed. Fine motor skills are produced through small movements in the hands, fingers and wrists. Familiarising pupils with their use of these at a young age could help them to develop skills such as handwriting quicker upon starting school.

Some stickers will even develop the sensory exploration of children as they have refined surfaces that may feel or appear different on the eye.

Panini Football Stickers

Furthermore, stickers such as the Panini Football Stickers not only help to develop skills at a young age but also help to develop the child’s knowledge on the topic.

A 7-year-old who can reel off football players names, ages and clubs in which they play for is pretty impressive; especially when they have processed this information themselves through playing with stickers!

Lastly, we must not forget the joy of using stickers as a reward. Receiving a tangible reward is exciting for children as they can visually see and touch the pride of their parents. Rewarding them with stickers as opposed to time on a tablet or computer can help them to value their own attitude and behaviour in a positive way and not take things for granted: they’re here to stick around.

Football Classes for Toddlers

Develop your child’s skills further at one of our football classes for toddlers, designed to develop essential skills including communication and language, physical development and personal, social and emotional skills.

Book a free trial today with no obligation – we look forward to seeing you at a football class with SoccerDays soon!

Disney FA Girls’ Football Week – FA For Girls

As part of the FA’s Gameplan For Growth, this month see’s the second annual Girl’s Football Week. In a bid to inspire and encourage young girls to become more active, the FA have teamed up with Disney to bring some sparkle to the pitch and celebrate girls in football. Football classes with SoccerDays are targeted to increase participation within young girls.

Disney Inspired Football Sessions

Enlisting qualified coaches to lead Disney inspired sessions, the FA hope to involve girls of all abilities. At the forefront of the campaign are the bold, inspiring and determined characters including Moana, Repunzel and Judy Hopps, all best known for taking their destiny into their own hands. Through a range of interesting and exciting activities, young girls will be inspired by the profound confidence of these Disney characters. Furthermore, opening up opportunities may help young girls explore avenues they have not done before and ignite their dreams no matter what they may be.

Why attend the Disney Inspired Football Sessions?

Kelly Simmons, The FA participation and development director praises the project immensely, stating that the project hopes to make football “relevant and attractive” for young girls by ensuring every session is “inspiring and fun”

Packs are currently being distributed to schools, clubs and homes nationwide and for all those that participate, a 20% discount voucher is also being rewarded.

Experiences with Disney and the FA

This is just another step Disney are taking to promote a commitment to healthy living through the use of their characters. In the lead up to the event, they have released a short film based on the three inspiring young girls from Coalville Town Football Club and how they have displayed the strong and determined traits of our much loved Disney characters. See the short film below

Furthermore, the lucky lioness’ were given a treat as on a recent trip to Orlando they had the opportunity to meet the likes of Minnie Mouse and explore the Magic Kingdom.

Jill Scott, one of only 10 players to have earned 100 caps for the lioness’ has got behind girls football week. Scott, 31, insists that “Women’s football is just getting bigger and better and it’s a privilege to be a part of it, especially during weeks like this.”

How can young children get involved?

Boasting an impressive career, Scott want’s to inspire as many young girls as possible to take the leap of faith and drive for success in football, even running her own football camps to do just this.

The week long initiative will hope to inspire girls not only for the week, but for life long participation in a sport that is loved by many. If you are interested to find out more about SoccerDays and sign up please follow the link below http://www.fagirlsfootballweek.com/

Winning or Losing

The age-old argument of whether young children should participate in competitive sports is one that ruffles a lot of feathers. An opinion that is very much divided, how do we decide if our little ones should be facing the trials and tribulations of winning or losing at such a young age?
Of course, winning and losing is not only encountered through sport and it is likely that even in the most innocent of play situations at pre-school or clubs, your children are already experiencing one of these.

Despite the popular, “it’s the taking part that counts”, Sports Psychologist Amanda Hills makes an interesting point to suggest that not exposing children to competition at an early age does not set them up for life because life itself is competitive. It is important that children learn to lose, as well as win. Hills goes on to express that winning should be celebrated as for some children sport is the only opportunity for them to thrive and succeed.

Handling winning and losing in the correct manner

It is fair to say that competition should be handled in the correct way, so not to deter participation. If the activity that young children are participating in is fun, exciting and engaging, what harm is then coming from teaching children the principles of winning and losing? Frequently asked questions usually involve the positive and negative experiences in competitive sport, especially for children who are of a younger age. At SoccerDays we understand that these experiences may shape a child’s perception and feeling towards the given activity, therefore a balance and how these experiences are handled are important to give a holistic and fair experience to the child.

With a naïve mind, there is a fear of children becoming ‘obsessed’ with winning, and it is vital to ensure that your child does not view every aspect of life as a competition as it could put a strain on their own self-esteem and certainly their capabilities of socialising. Emphasizing that ‘doing your best’ is the outcome that your child should seek as opposed to ‘winning at all costs’ will help avoid behaviour such as cheating or being a ‘sore loser’. How you speak with your child after they have participated in an activity can also shape how they view winning or losing. Closed questions such as ‘did you win?’ put a tight pressure on children to say yes or no. Instead we advise parents to open-up their questions to find out from our young ones about what they learnt or what they found fun about the activity, we are encouraging them to review their whole experience as opposed to just the outcome. Football is not always competitive either. At SoccerDays we organise Football Parties for Kids which are filled with fun and exciting activities!

As parents we all want our children to enjoy and thrive at life, we can support them in this by advocating the importance of both winning and loosing. Teaching children to follow rules will install a democratic element in their personality, helping to set goals for our children gives them something to strive and want to achieve. Team work is a fantastic skill to teach children, being part of a team gives them a sense of belonging, that way they can work together to meet a goal or outcome. A variation of activity choice demonstrates to young children that not everything relates to winning or losing, and simply enjoying something will in turn make them happy. If you and your child are interested in our programmes, find a class and book with us today!

Give Your Child A Kick-Start in Life with SoccerDays

If this has inspired you to let your child into the competitive world of football, we have various football classes for toddlers and children available in many locations that they can get involved with. SoccerDays offer 45 minutes of football provided by high quality football coaches! Find your nearest venue and book a trial today!

Being Healthy A to Z

Leading on from our previous blog post about the mental health benefits that exercise brings to young ones, this week we are exploring the physical health benefits that giving your children a healthy, active, lifestyle brings.

It is hard to believe that the word “obese” can be used to describe a child so early on in their life, however new figures from the NHS display that in 2015, more than 1 in 5 children in reception were classed as obese.  As figures increase year on year, and as children get older, preventing obesity from a young age is vital.

It is no old wife’s tale that leading an active, healthy balanced lifestyle is crucial to remain fit and healthy. It does not need to be intimidating, time consuming or expensive to engage your little one in an active lifestyle and our simple A-Z gets down to the nitty-gritty of this!

A to Z of Being Healthy

A – Activities. There is certainly no shortage of activities in this day and age. Whether this be a Sunday morning trip to the park or attending a football class once a week, giving your child this routine with exercise will help them assume it should be a part of their lifestyle moving forward.

B – Bananas. You can’t beat a good banana. Give your child a banana as a snack before they are off running around to increase their energy; much better than those sugary snacks.

C – Clubs. Clubs are a great way to meet new friends and stay active in a fun way. There are multiple free clubs for young children to join and enjoy.

D –  Dinner. Asking your young one to join you to make their dinner will begin to familiarise them with different food groups and healthy eating ideas.

E – Excitement. All parents are aware that young ones are full of beans, so what better way to blow out this excitement than enjoying activities and exercise with friends.

F – Friendship. Brilliant friendships are formed through sport – particularly team games!

G – Guidelines. Knowing the general guidelines for food consumption for your child can help with portion control and understanding what nutrients they need. Currently, the government recommends that a growing 1-6-year-old consumers 1300-1800 calories per day.

H – Healthy eating. This one is a given, teaching your child what foods will make them tick will give them confidence and a positive approach towards food into adulthood.

I – Iron. An iron deficiency is common in young children. Ensuring they are having substantial iron intake will mean that your young ones have more energy and in turn perform better in sport.

J – Junk Foods. With small growing bodies, this is something to try and avoid. Everyone is guilty of giving their children some junk food, however it is important not to make this part of their daily routine.

K – Kids. Although it is important to do all we can to help our children, it is important to remember they are still KIDS! They will want chocolate, they will fall over and hurt themselves. But it is all character building.

L – Low levels of activity. Only 23% of girls age 5-7 meet the recommended activity levels in England (World Health Organisation). This sedentary lifestyle is mirrored by problems in nutrition and diet also.

M – Milk! No matter what some experts may say, milk is good for the bones of growing children.

N – New skills. Just letting your child play and freely run around will help them to build new skills independently and with confidence.

O – Opportunities. Giving your child new opportunities will help them to explore what they enjoy, trying out a variety of activities is easy and as simple as sticking your favourite CD on and seeing how good your little one’s dance moves are.

P – Posture. Exercise from a young age can help promote a good posture, hopefully combating injuries and pains later on in life.

Q – Quinoa. Not many words start with Q. Quinoa does. However, do not panic. You do not need to start feeding your children the ultimate health food just yet.

R – Running. The first motor skill your child tends to learn. Unless you have a mini David Beckham on your hands who may be kicking before he runs. Running is simple, just let your child do it until they run out of steam.

S – Stress. Relieve your own stress by resting assured that your little one is healthy and active.

T – Time. Giving time to active experiences as a family such as walks or going to the local swimming pool is far more valuable than time spend in front of a screen for both your child’s health and your family life.

U – Under 5. Recommendations for young ones under 5 from the NHS state that they should not be inactive for long periods of time except when sleeping. Light activities include walking around and less energetic play. More energetic activities for under 5s include riding a bike, skipping and climbing.

V – Victory. Raising a young, fit and healthy child is the biggest victory for any parent. Be on your way to victory by starting today!

W – Whole family. Involving the whole family in an active lifestyle will be a driver to involve your children in sports.

X –  XXL. The clothing size you want to avoid buying for your children.

Y – Youth. After all, the youth of today are the future so helping them to be active and healthy is of upmost importance.

Z – Zooming. Exactly what you want to see your little ones doing. Here, there and everywhere.

Get Active Today!

The possibilities are endless in bringing your child a healthy, active lifestyle. Kick-start them in the right direction today with our handy guide!

If you would like to get your child(ren) involved in more sports, why not book in to one of our football classes for toddlers? We even have trial offers where your little one can have 45 minutes of fun for free, so you can make sure the class is right for you and your little one!

A Recipe for Confidence

As parents, helping our children to grow in confidence and be happy in life tends to come at the forefront of our lives. Giving your child the opportunity to participate and engage with sports, such as our football classes for toddlers, could well be the key ingredient to do this.

Despite the positives of exercise on a child’s mental well-being being less known about than those that are physical, British Heart Foundation researchers’ detail that those children participating in regular activity present an increase in confidence, peer acceptance and friendship and even attention span.

At a time where children have the chance to do whatever they may please at just the touch of a button, it is easy for them to become consumed in other pursuits such as using tablets and watching TV. However, to promote the confidence of young people and in turn, increase the likelihood of them possessing this confidence into adolescence, sport seems to be the answer!

Give Your Children the Chance to Grow in Confidence

With a plethora of sporting opportunities available for children, there is certainly something for everyone! May your little one be a twinkle toes, a mini mover or a small swimmer, sport will teach them to grow in confidence, embrace challenges and present a boost in self-esteem.

Parents are quick to praise us on our ability to give children these chances to grow in confidence. We have put together the key ingredients to the confidence pie, something we want all of our children participating in sport to have a slice of.

  • Encouragement: Nothing will get your little ones beaming with a smile more than being told you are proud of them. Encouraging them to keep trying their best and supporting whatever they choose to do will no doubt turn them into a confident, risk taking individual.
  • New experiences: It can definitely be daunting going to a new place for the first time, even for us adults! However, the longer we put this off the harder it gets. Introducing children to new people and places from a young age will set them up for later challenges in their life such as starting school.
  • Team work: Team games help to teach young people how to work with others and share responsibility. Teaching the children to share and communicate with their teammates is one of the most important elements of our classes. Enforcing this from a young age means our children grow into kind, confident young adults and form blossoming friendships within their teams.
  • A sense of belonging: a part of being confident is feeling like those around you appreciate and support you. With increased self-esteem, our children will naturally fit into team settings, making them a great listener and giving them the capability to work well with others. Having a sense of belonging means children are likely to be less shy and nervous when facing new challenges.

Becoming confident in these environments can help children to develop friendships and bonds with others that will help them to grow and gain new social skills. Watching your little one grow in character, along with their new friends is enough to put a smile on any parent’s face. Introducing children to peers at a young age not only helps them understand others and grow in confidence but may also set them up with friends for life.

Confidence is something that needs to be acquired, not inherited, start today by widening your little one’s horizons and helping them discover new and exciting challenges.

Commenting Laura Erskine, spokes mum for Mummypages.co.uk said:

“As parents, we all want our children to grow up and become confident, resilient and happy people. There is no better way to foster confidence and improve self-esteem in children than through sport. And of course, the younger they start, the more they are likely to carry this love of sport through their primary and secondary education, helping them with much more than just their physical development. Physical exercise is vital for healthy mental development and coping skills, as well as those all-important motor planning and basic gross motor skills that are lacking in so many young children these days.”

Increase Your Kids Confidence with SoccerDays Football Classes

As you can see, sport really does have a positive affect on our little ones physical and mental wellbeing. If you think your child could benefit from flourishing in confidence and skill through football, why not book in for one of our football classes for toddlers? We offer 45 minutes of fun for FREE with no obligation at your Essex and East London venues! Find your nearest venue and book a trial today. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Gift of the Girls

UEFA Women's Euro logo

As the UEFA Women’s Euro rolls onto our TV screens this month, here at SoccerDays we believe that females are dominating the field with a fearless nature in one of the nations most loved sports – football!

With such a fantastic turnout of young girls at our football classes, particularly at The Campion School on a Sunday, it’s hard to believe there is such a vast gap between boys and girls in the game. However, with participation in the sport on a steep rise and girls all across the country presenting such speed, skill and resilience within the game, could we be about to see a repeat of history?

When Football Banned Women

It may come as a surprise to be told that 100 years ago, women’s football was attracting crowds of over 50,000 spectators. Almost an unimaginable picture, the sport thrived in the working-class community. A recent Channel 4 Documentary; ‘When Football Banned Women’ tells the story of Dick Kerr’s Ladies FC, a revolutionary group of women who could give the likes of Ronaldo a run for his money! However, the threat of women’s football on the men’s game lead to a disastrous decision by the FA; to ban women’s football, meaning it could only be played at an amateur level. A 50-year freeze on the game could be argued to have compromised football image in the present day. The women’s football drought lasting from 1921 to 1971 is certainly not common knowledge but may tell us a lot about why the sport now struggles to fulfil the status it most certainly deserves.

This Girl Can Campaign

Enormous efforts have recently been made to boost the appreciation and image surrounding women’s footballs. This year, the FA have initiated a three-year ‘Game plan for Growth’ with Disney in hope to double participation and fans of the sport by 2020. The popular campaign, ‘This Girl Can’ continues its pioneering efforts to support girls across the country to pursue any dreams they have in any sport they wish, something we closely replicate here at SoccerDays.

To bring you up to date with the current Women’s Euro competition, England are performing as brilliant as ever. With 2 wins in the group stages against Scotland and Spain – it is looking like qualifying to the quarterfinals is a certain. When the first Euro competition was played in 1984, England reached the final, as they also did in 2009. With role models such as Jill Scott playing for the team, it is hopeful they will score success in the competition this time round.

UEFA have issued the hashtag #WePlayStrong for this year’s competition, send us your photos of your girls doing what they do best and supporting their love for football!

Want to find out more? http://www.channel4.com/programmes/when-football-banned-women/on-demand/66101-001

Give Your Child A Kick-Start in Life with SoccerDays

If this has inspired you to get your children involved with the world of football, we have a number of football classes for toddlers and children available across Essex and East London to get involved with. We also offer 45 minutes of fun for free with no obligation! Find your nearest venue and book a trial today!