With today’s technology, more and more kids are spending most of their time sitting in front of a screen. And while technology can be beneficial, it can often deter kids from getting the physical activity they need. If your child was one of the 2.63 million students enrolled in private elementary schools in 2016, they hopefully get exercise while at school and a proper education regarding the importance of physical health. But fortunately, there are a number of ways you as a parent can use technology at home to get your kids up and moving.
Creating Good Habits
One of the best parts of using technology to encourage physical activity is that technology can help set schedules and encourage the development of good habits. Chances are, your child already uses technology at certain times of the day — after school or before bed are common times for technology use. So why not allow them to stick to this schedule but instead of sitting on the couch on their iPad, they get up and moving? Parents should do their best to limit their child’s screen time, but they can allow it when they’re using technology productively. So consider scheduling time during the day for “active screen time”. Whether it’s after school or before bed, allowing kids to watch exercise videos, use fitness apps, or play interactive video games during the day can give kids their screen fix but also get them moving. Kids are already using technology and social media throughout the day, so parents should consider allowing them to use it to create healthy habits and schedules.
Utilizing Wearable Technology
Recent technology developments have resulted in widespread use of wearable technology, like smartwatches. This form of technology is great because kids don’t need to sit in front of a screen to use it — they can use it wherever, whenever. There are plenty of fitness tracker watches and bracelets available, many of which are for kids specifically. These trackers can show kids how many steps they get each day, how long they sleep for, and how active they are in general. You can also set reminders to encourage kids to be active at certain times throughout the day. Wearable technology can even remind kids when to drink water, which is especially important seeing as how about 75% of Americans are considered to be chronically dehydrated. A person can only last three or four days without fresh water. Kids may not be in need of water that badly, but they are certainly in need of hydration. Wearable technology is a great way to remind kids of the exercise they should be getting and they’re fun to use overall.
Make Use of Videos and Apps
One of the best things about the Internet when it comes to promoting physical activity among kids is the access you have to videos. There are endless exercise videos for kids available online — they often incorporate fun movements, like dancing, to keep kids engaged. Finding a video series or even an app to use regularly is a great option for getting kids up and moving. However, as a parent, it’s your responsibility to ensure the videos your child is using is appropriate for their age and fitness level. With 96% of consumers saying design is the main reason they trust a site, make sure you’re using a reputable site or company for the videos you let your child watch. But all in all, if your kids are already watching TV and shows, they might as well watch videos that can help them get up and moving.
You don’t have to completely ban technology to get your kids physically active. But instead, consider embracing it and using it wisely to encourage your kids to move around while still using their favorite devices.