There’s no escaping it: part of being a parent today is helping our kids navigate the confusing, fast-paced, sometimes consuming world of technology. If you ever find yourself begging your child to put down the phone, tablet, or video game to get some fresh air and exercise, there is good news! Instead of using tech as a babysitter, according to experts interviewed in a recent article, there are lots of ways parents can encourage kids to choose exercise over screens, and they’re totally doable.
But first, let’s talk about some of the reasons exercise is awesome for kids (and everyone). Screen time for minors is high and still climbing. According to Common Sense Media, 8 to 12-year-olds are spending almost five hours each day using devices, and 13 to 18-year-olds’ average screen time per day is more than seven hours. Yikes!
Besides helping children to be physically healthy with stronger hearts and lungs, exercise can benefit kids in other ways that screen time just can’t. It helps them develop coordination and balance, and not only that, physical activity helps improve mental and emotional health. Simply put, movement makes us feel good, and we can help our kids experience those feel-good moments for themselves. From outdoor activities to youth sports, any kind of movement can make a big difference for your child.
Encouraging Kids to Move
So you’re on board with wanting your child to exercise more, but how do you actually make it happen? According to experts, there are lots of things parents can do:
- Model exercise yourself, and invite your children to exercise with you.
- Set limits on screen time, and when the time is up, set the expectation that it’s time for your child to move their body.
- Integrate small moments of movement into existing routines by walking, biking, or scootering places instead of driving.
Help your child find a physical activity that they enjoy, so it doesn’t feel like a chore. Activities to consider include team sports, individual sports, family hikes, and just playing outside.
Starting Early and Limiting Distractions
Sports medicine pediatrician, Nick Edwards, recommends integrating exercise into your family’s life from when your child is young.
“It is never too early to teach the concept that we need to regularly move our bodies to stay healthy—just as we teach children at a young age about what kind of foods we should eat to be healthy.”
And as always, Troomi is here to help! Our phones are designed to include all the helpful stuff and none of the addictive, mind-numbing stuff, so your child can use it to learn, grow, and become anything—without becoming consumed with tech use. Tech will be a tool, not a tyrant, and your child will have plenty of room in their life for exercise and joyful movement. Check out the phone that grows with your child at Troomi.com.