You should be a bit worried if you are responsible for a child or several children today. Why? In one words: tablets. Society is raising a generation of young people absorbed to their screens. Little kids have their eyes glued to screens for countless hours each day. Can you blame them? They enjoy the moving pictures, colorful characters, and fun games on their interactive screen(s). Whether it’s tablets, smartphones, desktops, laptops, or TVs, one thing’s for sure: society is more sedentary than ever because of technology. Most people watch; few people “do.”
Think back to your childhood. Now think back to the childhood of your grandparents and imagine the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s before TV took over the world. There was a time when kids went outside and played. Sometimes it was organized; most times it was not. Kids would–gasp–walk down the street by themselves, meet up with other kids from the neighborhood, and find a place to play for fun. Maybe it was “stickball” or “cowboys and indians” or a simple game of “tag.” Playing outdoors meant running around, a lot, and little did they know they were getting great exercise back when they had to invent their own fun rather than consume what was made for them.
Fast forward to more modern times: everything changed, didn’t it? After TV took over in the 1950s and then computers became popular since the 1980s, society has become addicted to watching screens. And that has made us more obese as a nation.
Both kids and adults today are more likely to be obese than they were decades ago. How does one combat this? Regular physical activity– an “active lifestyle”– is the key to a healthy, more fit overall life.
Kids mirror what adults show and tell them. Kids are sponges, picking up the habits, both good and bad, of the adults around them. Therefore, it behooves you to teach them good habits.
The Importance of Children Developing Active Habits
Take, for example, the first five years of a child’s life. During this period, they grow by leaps and bounds. Physically and mentally, it’s as if they’re a new person every day. Ask yourself this simple question: Who will they become?
Young people who participate in regular exercise, whether it’s playing basketball, tennis or soccer, or something simple like taking walks and bike rides, end up building strong hearts, muscles and bones. They learn the fundamental skills of movement, balance, coordination and reacting to stimuli put before them. Meanwhile, the more active they are, the more likely they are to have (and maintain) a healthy weight. Rather than sit around doing nothing but stare at screens for days on end, a kid who’s playing games outdoors will improve their social skills, motor skills, and overall confidence.
What should parents of young ones do? For starters, limit their time in front of screens and electronic devices! Those things should be used as rewards rather than as babysitters, and their use should be limited to less than an hour a day. Kids SHOULD be running around the house and outdoors for hours on end everyday– it’s good for them.
Perhaps people have become too scared of letting their kids “go wild,” but active play is not a bad thing like some moms and dads believe. It’s okay for children to breathe faster and deeper than normal. It’s okay for them to sweat. And it’s okay for them to have unstructured activities. Parents do NOT have to hover over kids all the time. Have we forgotten what freedom feels like? Of course safety is important, but don’t treat kids like they’re always in jail and you’re the warden!
The Importance of Children Having a Place to Be Active
Classic Turf Company creates courts for people— young and old– to play things like basketball and tennis. Perhaps you’ve been thinking about adding your own personal court at your house/in your yard. Why not? Having a court nearby is an easy way to encourage kids (and adults) to get more physical activity, simply because “it’s there, so we might as well use it.”
Basketball is actually a really good thing for kids to do because it helps them learn sending and receiving skills. They can roll a ball, dribble it, catch it, and throw it. When they get the ball through the hoop and score “a basket” they’ll smile– scoring baskets boosts their self-esteem and confidence. Sports like basketball and tennis also help kids learn to move their bodies in certain ways, improving their posture and balance.
Want a sports court for your place? Call Classic Turf Company at 1-800-246-7951 to discuss ideas.