Sport and recreation

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					Sport and recreation for children and young
people in out-of-home care
                                                                Role of carers
Encouraging children and young people to
                                                                Carers play a crucial role in providing a healthy
participate regularly in sport, play, creative
                                                                environment, building resilience and promoting a healthy
or other activities that they enjoy helps them
                                                                lifestyle for the children and young people in their care.
develop new abilities and skills, self-esteem,
confidence and a sense of purpose and identity.
                                                                Carers can have a significant influence over a child or
It can also create an opportunity for children and young        young person’s attitudes towards sport and recreational
people to bond with carers, which in turn improves              activities. Their lifestyle, enthusiasm, encouragement,
placement stability.                                            support and participation can have a major impact on
                                                                getting them involved in activities which are not only a
Creating regular opportunities for children and young
                                                                lot of fun, but can lead to a huge range of physical and
people to become involved in sports, play, hobbies and
                                                                mental health benefits for the whole family.
other recreational activities helps promote confidence,
social connections and improved health outcomes.
Children from disadvantaged backgrounds suffer higher
                                                                Being involved in positive activities can help children and
rates of accidental injury, infections, failure to thrive and
                                                                young people get through a difficult time in their lives.
general ill health.
                                                                It also lets them make links in their community, interact
Childhood is a critical stage and a child’s circumstances       with peers and make new friends.
may have lasting effects on their mental and physical
                                                                As well as the physical health benefits, sporting and
health and development.
                                                                other physical activities such as riding bikes, swimming
Children and young people in care often have                    or walking, can give opportunities for safe risk-taking,
experienced trauma, neglect and adversity. A child’s            learning and developing teamwork, coordination and
experiences before entering care combined with those            discipline skills.
while in care, such as the emotional impact of being
                                                                Arts and drama are a way for children and young people
separated from their family or insecurity arising from
                                                                to express themselves creatively, including their feelings,
placement changes, can lower a child’s resilience (or
                                                                in a safe environment.
ability to cope).
                                                                Hobbies such as music, dancing, reading, cooking and
                                                                gardening let children and young people explore their
                                                                interests and help them develop a sense of self-worth and
                                                                enhance their quality of life.
                                                                Playgroups give young children a chance to play and learn
                                                                together and make it possible for carers to share ideas,
                                                                develop new friendships and a support network in their
                                                                local community.

                                                                Listening to kids
                                                                One of the main ways carers can deal with a child
                                                                or young person’s disinterest or resistance to getting
                                                                involved in activities is to ask them what they would like
                                                                to do and encourage their interests. For some children,
                                                                making them do an activity that may seem to be in their
                                                                best interests may end up being a negative experience.

                                                                                                    August 2008
Sport and recreation for children and young people
in out-of-home care continued

 What carers can do at home
 There are a number of things that carers can do to help
 children and young people to become engaged, involved
 and active. Carers can:
 • encourage young children to play by playing with
   them, taking them to the park or going to a playgroup
 • set a good example by being active and having
   interests themselves
 • be active as a family by walking, riding bikes,
   swimming, fishing or doing other activities together
 • support and encourage participation in active play,
   sport, creative activities and hobbies                  What carers can do at school
 • talk to the child or young person to find out what      Carers can support children and young people at school
   activities they have done in the past, what they are    in a number of ways. Carers can:
   interested in, or would like to try
                                                           • contact the child or young person’s school to find out
 • find out about local sport and recreation clubs,          what activities are offered
   groups and activities in your community and tell the
                                                           • take an interest in what the child or young person
   child or young person about them
                                                             does each day at school, including favourite subjects,
 • emphasise having fun and reduce competitive               health, personal development and physical education
   situations for children developing skills                 classes, school sports and what they do at lunchtime
 • give positive encouragement and help if a child is      • go to parent/teacher nights to discuss the child or
   having difficulty with learning new skills                young person’s progress, interests or areas where they
 • encourage the child or young person to do activities      may need extra help
   with their friends at home, school or in                • volunteer time to help in the classroom, be a coach of
   the community                                             a sport team, or assist with major sporting events such
 • restrict time spent watching television and playing       as swimming carnivals and interschool sports days.
   computer and electronic games.                          If carers have difficulty accessing sport and recreational
                                                           activities, or wish to discuss the child or young person’s
                                                           sport and recreational needs, they can contact their
Useful websites                                            caseworker or local community service centre.

The NSW Sport and Recreation’s website is a great resource for finding
out about:
• organisations which can give carers everything they      • opportunities for students to
  need to know about sport and recreation activities,        show their achievements in visual
  clubs and local competitions                               arts – ARTEXPRESS and Operation Art
• sport and recreation programs for kids and teens         • opportunities for students to showcase performing
                                                             arts – Schools Spectacular, Star Struck, State Dance
• camps and sport and recreation centres
• tips for getting active.
                                                           • school sports opportunities
Visit the NSW Public Schools’ website
                                                           • competitions throughout the year in various fields to find out:
                                                             of study.
• what schools do to support students such as              NSW Health’s website has a
  school programs and practices that protect and           range of information about children’s life stages, health,
  promote health                                           nutrition, exercise and safety.


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