Raising Physically Active Kids in a Digital World
Technology has been such a great blessing to humankind. It has enabled the world to do things that only existed in fiction centuries ago. The rate at which technology advanced in the 20th century until now has been nothing short of amazing. Humanity sent people to the moon. Many people can interact with another from different time zones in real-time via video calls. Technology for flying cars a la “The Jetsons” are in development now. Pretty much nothing that can be imagined is left untouchable from tech.
The digital age is indeed here. And along with the boons come some banes.
The world has seen how largely dependent it has become on tech to do even menial tasks. At this rate, it’ll be just a matter of time when the same fate as the humans in the animated film “Wall-E” comes for the world.
Why Physical Activity Is Important Now More than Ever
A sedentary lifestyle is one of the top adverse effects of digitalization. The way of life now is very different from what it was like twenty years ago.
Take a look at the glaring differences between kids then and now. From playtime to education, things have become different. Most kids from past decades spent most of their free time playing actively with other kids on the streets and playgrounds. Today, kids mostly find themselves in front of a screen.
At best, the only physical activity kids get today comes from required physical education from their schools. While many schools offer great holistic programs such as British-standard curricula or international school standards, kids today are just not into physical activity.
The major downside to this disinterest is an adverse effect on their health. Technology and this disinterest in physical activity slowly mold children into a sedentary lifestyle as early as now. If this gets deeply ingrained in their lives, they will likely grow up with different health problems. Obesity, poor eyesight, higher blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and similar concerns have become prevalent in today’s youths.
Raising Kids to Be More Physically Active in the Digital Age
Encouraging kids today to be more physically active can be quite a challenge for parents. Still, certain ways can make the task a lot easier to accomplish. Here are some of them:
- Get the Whole Family Involved
If you want kids to be involved in more physical activities, you need to get the other family members in it. Children are more inclined to build habits around activities that involve the whole family. Exercise together. Take walks around the block daily with them. Play catch in the backyard or shoot some hoops with them after school. The exercise will do you plenty of good too. When you do this, you are not just encouraging your kids to be more physically active, but you’re building healthier habits for your family as well.
- Take Advantage of Technology to Get Them to Move
Getting kids to be more physically active doesn’t mean that you need to cut off all electronic devices from their lives. The world is currently digital, so technology has significantly been ingrained in everyday life. However, you can put tech to good use if you incorporate them with certain activities that allow kids to move. For instance, you can use their phones or tablets as digital maps for hikes or even scavenger hunts. You can even download apps like TikTok and make dance videos with them. However, monitor their social media use from time to time.
- Educate Them about Exercise and Movement
Take the time to constantly talk about how helpful exercise is and how it will benefit them in the long run. But don’t just lecture your children about it. Make it educational, experiential, and fun.
- Schedule Your Family Calendar Purposefully
It’s one thing to talk about the importance of regular exercise and another thing to implement it. One of the best ways to ensure consistency is to put exercise and physical activity in your calendar and plan other activities, tasks, and chores around it. Unless you do it purposefully, you will never yield any lasting results.
- Set Playdates for Them with Other Kids
Nowadays, setting playdates might be a bit more challenging compared to how it was pre-COVID-19. But it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. You can call other parents and organize a regular playdate for your kids where gadgets and other digital devices are not allowed. It’s an excellent way to minimize screen time, get them to exercise, and build deep and meaningful friendships. Just make sure you strictly observe COVID-19 protocols when you go on those playdates, at least until the pandemic dies down a bit.
- Make It Fun for Everyone
Lastly, if you want physical activity to become a lifestyle for your child, you need to make it fun for them. Don’t go overboard with the activities that they dread exercise. Go easy on it and make it as enjoyable an experience as possible. Generally, folks tend to build habits around things that they enjoy doing. By making it fun for the kids, they will look forward to the next session because they’re having a blast.
Physically active kids will grow up to be healthier individuals. It will be beneficial for them if they establish the proper habits as early as now to reduce the health risks that come with an inactive lifestyle.