Keeping Kids Fit in a Technology Age
1. Encourage kids to spend half their time after school outside (such as, when they first get home), to unwind, followed by the other time doing homework and digital media. If they follow some sort of routine or “after school" schedule, they will be less likely to stay on the mobile technology for too long a period of time and vary their activities.
2. Limit time on computers and mobile technology. By setting limits to how long they are allowed to be involved with technological gadgets, they will be more likely to engage in more physical activities.
3. Get them involved in specific sports and after school extracurricular events. By having kids participate in specific sporting events that they enjoy, they will be less likely to fall into the trap of obsessive use of technology. Choose sports like Track, Football, or Band. These types of activities have a social reward factor too. They will enjoy participating in these types of events, since they will be able to interact with other kids and make friends, and they will be more fit as well due to the high level of physical activity.
4. Assign outside chores which require physical activity for pay. Even if you are not in the habit of assigning your kids chores, offering a money incentive for doing a good job on outside work will send the message that you want them to do outside work and keep in shape, as well as their other pursuits.
5. Instill values regarding physical fitness and good health habits. If you communicate to your kids that you value good health, being in shape, and well-being, kids will emulate this. Remember that they do more what you do than what you say, so be sure to practice good health habits, including eating right, exercise, and other things that promote good health yourself too.
In this day of instant gratification and instant media access, kids can get addicted to their mobile devices. This creates problems in a number of areas, not the least of which is a lack of physical activity. With childhood obesity on the rise, it is important that you encourage kids to be as active in the real world as they are online or with mobile gadgets, limit times on such technology, get them involved in sports or other extracurricular activities, and set an example by your own actions.
Parents play a large role in the habits that last a lifetime for young people today. Teach them the importance of good health habits and taking care of their body, as well as their mind. Teach them that technology is great, perhaps one of the greatest things man has ever invented and that it is a tool to make our lives better, but we need to be as healthy and fit as possible too.