That's it. Only 1 more day to go until we fling open the doors of our new The Little Gym.
Sign up and help your child launch, tumble and turn towards new skills, new friendships and newfound confidence.
We can't wait to see the childrens happy faces :) See you soon!
The Little Gym Europe has organised in October 2017 its biennial convention held at Phantasialand (Germany) where the European network of The Little Gym Franchise Owners had a chance to meet up and network.
This year’s convention “Springboard to your Success” focused on making the franchisee's business grow in a changing world.
A massive congratulations to all of our award winners, but especially owner Kate from The Little Gym Harrogate & Leeds who won the franchisee of the year award.
Best get a move on…
I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about The Little Gym Godalming opening its doors. Whether your child is 10 months or 12 years old, they’re about to discover an exciting world of movement, music, learning and laughter, all underpinned by some serious fun. As a parent, you’re about to see them grow and develop in ways that will surprise and amaze you – and you’ll find lots of likeminded parents to connect with too.
I wanted a way of saying ‘thank you’ to those parents who are amongst the first to give us their support. That’s why I’m giving a FREE VIP early bird pass to the first 100 people to sign up with us, giving your child one month’s membership for absolutely nothing.
As you might expect there are just a couple of bits of small print: there’s one VIP pass per family, and the offer ends on 31 October or when the first 100 members sign up (whichever happens sooner).
Since I’ve had a couple of sign-ups in the time it’s taken me to put this post live, things are moving fast, and I’d hate you to miss out. So complete your details on the introductory visit form, get in touch via Facebook at The Little Gym Godalming or give me a call on 01483 343 000. I can’t wait to hear from you.
Years before I even realised running my own The Little Gym was a possibility, I’d already seen its benefits.
My son, Luca, was 18 months old. He’d started walking by about 14 months, he was alert and interested in the world around him and busy doing all the things little boys do.
I first brought him to my local The Little Gym because I’d always been a big believer that a sound mind starts with a sound body. I’m not quite sure what I expected the results to be, but I’m certain I didn’t except them to be quite so profound, quite so quickly.
I’ve often described the acceleration he got from The Little Gym – athletic, cognitive, social and behavioural – as uncanny. That may not be the most scientific of assessments (especially from someone with a background in children’s cognitive health) but that’s really the only way I can describe it. Uncanny, and magical to watch.
By the time he started attending school for a few mornings a week at the age of 3, Luca was sitting upright on his chair, full of confidence and attentiveness. He was raising his hand to ask and answer questions, waiting for his turn, listening to instructions. He knew how to hold his pen, knew how to start a conversation, knew how to make friends.
With these building blocks in place courtesy of The Little Gym, he was able to progress so much faster at school, because he wasn’t having to expend energy on mastering these skills; he already had them.
Ah, you might say, but who’s to say he wouldn’t have developed them that quickly anyway? That would be a fair point, but for the fact that since then I’ve met lots of other The Little Gym franchise owners and – without exception - they’re all former members who saw similar transformations in their own children.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s rewind a little.
I worked for a pharma company specialising in enzyme replacement treatments for rare diseases. What we did was astonishing. I’d wake every day knowing that today we could transform a child’s quality of life, their lifespan, or the opportunities they were able to seize. It was a wonderful thing to be a part of, but it came at a personal cost.
I was a single mum spending lots of time living out of hotel rooms as I travelled the world for my job. Initially, I was able to leave Luca with a nanny safe in the knowledge that he was well cared for, even if I was wracked with guilt.
By the time he was able to say, “Mummy, do you have to go?” I’d barely be able to keep it together long enough to leave the house without sobbing. Eventually I just couldn’t continue, so I began looking for something else – something that would keep me much closer to home.
I knew I wanted to continue working with children. I loved them (and they seemed to like me!) and I knew I wanted to feel as though I was making a difference. Then I remembered the difference the The Little Gym had made to Luca.
They had it so right. They still do. And when a little research revealed they were a franchise, there was no hesitation.
I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about The Little Gym Godalming opening its doors. So let me show you instead. Come and see us – you can get in touch here.
“A sound mind in a sound body.” You’ll no doubt have heard that before – it’s the sort of thing every parent says to their child at some point. What you may not realise is that this simplest of sayings dates back thousands of years, yet is backed by some very hard, very current science.
It was Greek Philosopher Thales who first suggested that physical exercise is an important (and possibly essential) part of mental and psychological wellbeing. I know what you’re thinking: you probably prefer your science to come from a little more recently than 600BC, but the fascinating thing about Thales’ theory is that, after lots of research carried out over the past couple of decades, it has basically been proved entirely accurate.
Movement, Sally Blythe notes in The Well-Balanced Child, “is part of the dance of development.” Repeated movements, she says, “help to strengthen the neural pathways that run between the brain and the body.”
As children grow, their ability to control their environment through movement and manipulation affects their cognitive development. In 2012, a study found that “fine motor skills… contribute to kindergarten achievement” while a 2016 report observed “significant correlations… between motor coordination and… cognitive function.”
Rewarding as it is to have the scientific community back the work we do at The Little Gym, we don’t need a scientific study to tell us the difference movement and motor skills can make to a child, because we see it all the time. If you think about it, the effect of physical development on academic achievement is almost inevitable.
Take a pre-toddling child, for example. The sooner they develop their core muscles, the sooner they’ll be able to walk, and the sooner they’ll be able to turn those first, wobbly, tentative steps into confident movement.
In later life we see the same effect when we’re learning to drive. When your hands and feet (and head) are a whirl of gearstick, steering wheel, clutch, accelerator, you have little mental space left for processing the world around you. During my earliest driving experiences I remember focusing about 2 feet beyond the end of the car bonnet. Only when I’d got the hang of the basic controls did my focus lengthen. That’s when I really started to learn to drive.
A toddler is mastering their own vehicle – their body. The sooner they can do it, the more they can focus on the discovery rather than how to get to the discovery.
Freeing up that cognitive resource is something that continues to be a big advantage as a child develops. If your child starts school unable to hold a pencil correctly, then they can’t devote all their mental energy to understanding how to form letters and numbers because they’re still trying to grasp (literally) the basic tools.
The sort of movement and fine motor skills developed at The Little Gym aren’t merely a ‘nice to have’. They’re essential for a good start in life – and just as important to cognitive development as they are to physical development.
Even the Ancient Greeks knew that.
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.