What happened to the days of running around in the front yard or taking bike rides around the neighborhood? They’ve been long replaced with video game sessions and smart phones.
We’re certainly not bashing technology, because let’s face it, we live in a world full of helpful (and tempting) games and gadgets. However, the key is and always will be moderation. There’s nothing wrong with playing a video game here and there, but it becomes a problem when kids aren’t getting the right amount of physical activity and exercise because of it.
According to a survey conducted by YMCA, 58% of children between the ages of 5 and 10 spend less than four days a week playing outside because they are in front of a TV or computer screen. In many of these cases, this is a result of parents finding it more convenient to have their kids spend time with the TV rather than having them go out and be active.
Many parents will attribute their kid’s lack of exercise to cost, time, or technology but there are ways around all of these things. Your child doesn’t have to spend all of their time exercising OR playing their favorite video game. They can do both in one day and it’s important that they are able to balance exercise and pleasure. If they are able to attain this skill early on in their life, they will only benefit from it as they grow older.
It’s highly encouraged for people of all ages to spend at least an hour of their day exercising. Many people associate exercise with sports or gym memberships, but there are so many alternatives. There are definitely cost-effective ways of gaining exercise whether it’s taking a walk, playing some ultimate frisbee in a nearby park, or bouncing around a basketball at a local court. Parents should take the time to make sure that their kids are getting outdoors and getting some fresh air
Getting outdoors is a great opportunity for family time, too. So often we (as adults!) and our kids get warped into this realm of entertainment and get so attached to our favorite television show that we don’t even realize where the time went. Schedule an afternoon picnic with the whole family and let the kids run around the park freely. It’ll provide a nice change of environment. Not having a television in sight will help your kids forget about it. When kids get into the own comfort of their homes, it’s easy for them to just plop down on the couch- but placing them in an environment where there’s no couch will make them much more likely to be more active.
Keep in mind that the little things make a huge difference as well. When you’re at the mall, try parking a little further than you usually would for a little extra walking. Skip the escalator and take the stairs. When something is within walking distance and it’s a beautiful day out, take a walk. Encourage your kids to take a dip in the pool when they wake up instead of going on the Internet. There are countless opportunities for your kids to get out and exercise, so take advantage of them and encourage your kids to get out there. It’ll benefit their health and depending on the activity, it makes for great bonding time with your kids as well!