Monday, November 1, 2010

Families Together and Active

WHAT:  The local park and recreation department would like to increase their membership as their annual goal. This membership goal is geared toward increasing family membership in particular. A program is needed to be enjoyable for the whole family and the availability so that families can normally participate.  This program is based around improving the performance of its participants and positive attitudes toward physical activity in a family oriented environment. This program needs to be developed and then presented to the director of the park and recreation department.

SO WHAT: In order to increase performance and positive attitudes, activities need to be included that families will enjoy and gain health benefits. The social aspect of these activities will be a main contributor to meet the goals of this program. Social influence will be incorporated in affecting positive attitudes and performance. Social facilitation is the influence of the presence of others on performance, including audience and coaction effects (Gill & Williams, 2008).  The presence of an audience increases arousal but if the activity is difficult and not well learned it can impair the performance. Social reinforcement is another influence that consists of positive and negative evaluative comments and actions, such as verbal praise, criticism, and body language (Gill & Williams, 2008). Positive praise should be more of the focus of this program so the children’s attitudes stay positive. Research indicates that behavior that is followed immediately by a teacher giving children attention rose rapidly to a high rate and that most young children adult attention is a positive reinforcer (Harris, Wolf, & Baer, 1964).  Another social influence is modeling.  According to Bandura’s (1986) social-cognitive theory, when we observe others we form a cognitive representation of the action that serves as a reference of correctness. Either the fitness can perform the correct movements for the children so they know how to do it or their parents can perform for them if they feel more comfortable with them. 

NOW WHAT: The main purpose of the Families Together and Active program is to improve performance and positive attitudes toward physical activity.  This program will involve the entire family for participation. Each activity will be geared toward the involvement of each family member.  Activities will range from ones that every member in the family may have done before to new activities that no family member has done. Activities will be rotated so that the program stays fresh while keeping the motivation high for every participant. During these activities the parents and instructors will be advised to give the children positive reinforcement. By staying positive with the children, it will help keep a positive attitude about participating. If the children are having fun then it should then allow the parents to have fun as well. This will allow for great family cohesion.  When performing a new skill or activity, the instructors will make sure that the fundamentals are learned before the actual activity.  If the children do not learn the skill properly before performing an activity, it could possibly have a negative effect on their performance and attitude. The instructors and parents will help demonstrate the skills needed for each activity.  Program sessions will focus on completion of each activities skill before performing the activities. An example of this would be learning how to dribble a basketball and shoot a basketball before playing a game.

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, the Families Together and Active program should help the park and recreation department increase their membership. This is a great program designed for the whole family.  Creating family cohesion with exercise and having fun is a wonderful program. If children visually see their parents having a positive attitude with physical activity it will more than likely transfer to the child. Promoting family physical activity can be a hard thing to do these days, but with this program it can be achieved.


Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Gill, D. L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological Dynamics of Sport and Exercise (3rd Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Harris, F., Wolf, M., & Baer, D. (1964). Effects of adult social reinforcement on child behavior. Journal of Nursery Education, 20(1), 8-17. 

1 comment:

  1. Stacy -

    Good inclusion of research and theory into your program. Keeping activities fresh and rotated as you mention is a great way to keep participation high throughout the proposed program. I enjoyed that you stress the importance of modeling and showing children how to perform new skills and activities so they continue to have positive experiences. I also mentioned in my program that it was a duty of the program instructor and volunteers to model for parents as well, since they are likely the one's deciding whether or not the family will come. If the parents are having a positive exercise experience, this will reflect upon the children, and as research shows; increase their level and excitement toward physical activity. Good job!