Over the years, there has been a significant change in the lifestyles of children of all age groups. The growing dependence on tablets and mobile phones has made our children adopt a sedentary lifestyle and we’re equally responsible for that. Whether it is used as a pacifier for toddlers, or to keep the school-going ones from throwing unwanted tantrums, we’re becoming more and more dependent on these gadgets. Surprisingly, research has suggested that increased usage triggers tantrums among kids.
This not only minimizes the physical activity of children but may have far more threatening consequences on their physical and mental health. It interferes with the development of sensory motor and visual motor skills. Excessive screen time hinders their ability to learn and limited physical activity leads to obesity. Some experts believe that the 21st century generation might be the first generation who wouldn’t be able to outlive their parents due to obesity. All these findings and observations suggest that it is high time, we start looking for ways to increase physical movement and activity among children belonging to all age groups to minimize the consequences we largely stay vulnerable to.
Here are a few ways which can be made part of our daily routine to change that passive lifestyle of our kids into an active one.
1. Outdoor Activities
Be sure to allocate a specific hour or two of the day for outdoor activities. Find out what your child is best at. It could be any physical sport: badminton, tennis, cricket, football or even swimming. Once you’ve decided on a sport, you should ensure that the game is not played on tablets and mobile phones only but involve physical body movements. If playing sports isn’t possible daily, then you can play any game in your backyard, or place a trampoline in there.
2. Make Use of Activity Trackers
Technology isn’t all about consequences. Activity trackers, like a Fitbit fitness tracker, are the best examples of how you can control technology overuse with technology. A variety of activity trackers have penetrated the market over time and vary in their functions. They come with features that allow you to set daily physical goals for your child to accomplish. Ranging from sleep tracker to earning points on the extent of physical movement, these trackers provide kids an exciting opportunity to have fun without sitting stationary.
3. Bike Rides
Kids love bike rides and its a fun activity that brings you an opportunity to spend time with your children. By making it a family activity, you can do both, make most of family time and push your kids to get off their mobile phones and tablets. Cycling improves muscle coordination and posture, it decreases obesity and also contributes in enhancing joint mobility. Exercising is directly linked to brain activity and prevents us from developing Alzheimer’s and ADHD.
4. Limit Screen Time
All of this physical activity is only of use if you limit screen time and exposure to mobile phones and tablets of your children. Do not allow children to use these gadgets for more than an hour a day. This includes TV screen exposure as well. Research has suggested that the average child is exposed to four times more than the healthy screen exposure. You don’t have to look far to find evidence for that as one can find it everywhere where kids are. So go strict on mobile phone and tablet usage on a daily basis.
5. Make a Time Table
Since children are at a growing stage, it is important to ensure that every body part gets the required amount of physical activity to develop fine motor skills. You can make a time table to allot different games for different days. Kids today are more prone to boredom than ever, which is also a direct result of overusing mobile phones and tablets. This will avoid monotony and will make them look forward to their daily activity.
Other than health consequences, increased screen times lead to social anxiety and developing an aggressive behavior. It is important for parents to come up with ways to encourage physical activity that best suit their child’s routine.
If you have any more tips, let us know in the comments below!