We have always been told to be active because a healthy body produces a healthy mind. This is true. An active body is essential to health. But with the recent pleas to stay at home and socially distance, going outdoors or to the gym is now technically unsafe to do. Even after school care and after school activities are limited. This is especially true for younger children. Encouraging them to be more active will not only make them healthier for the moment but will also to establish habits that would later be to their benefit.
For most of us, being outside is what keeps us busy and active. Home is where we chill out and rest. Still we cannot deny the fact that this is too much rest and we are being introduced into a new normal where the default place is home. Children who have been used to having a lot of schedules become more and more attached and dependent on their gadgets for entertainment. An hour a day should suffice but not necessarily followed.
Prolonged gadget use is never good for children. The impact of long gadget use harms not just the brain but the physical body, too. Eye strain, posture, headaches, insomnia to name a few. Electronic devices pose health hazards primarily because it is very addicting. In that small screen, they can be an achiever, a warrior, a student. The lure of the screen is so formidable and entertaining that an hour can turn to eight. Because of this, some parents have even used the screen to be their virtual babysitter. But as stated previously, children, especially very young kids should not be exposed for very long. Their developing brains are malleable and can be influenced with the colourful and fast paced movements may overstimulate and rewire their brains. For some it could lead to seizure.
Inactivity coupled with disturbed sleep patterns can cause depression and obesity. Myopia and other vision problems can also develop over long term gadget use. This over stimulation is not good for them. For their sake especially in these times when large group gatherings are in check until everything becomes normal again.
Things that could help:
- Find other things to do and involve your child. That project you have been putting off, and the book you wanted to read but never found the time.
- Develop new hobbies. Learn ping-pong, cultivate a garden, master cooking. You can appoint them as your apprentice.
- Make sure not to indulge in gadgets an hour before bed time. Gadgets suppress melatonin that helps induce sleep.
Even without the group gathering restrictions, gadget addiction and its adverse effects have been posing a growing problem. Outside activities have been an answer until these last few months. We need to be more creative until everything comes to some semblance of normalcy. The best would still be leading by example. Unplug and involve them in your other activities. This will bring you closer together for a healthier mind, body and possibly healthier relationships.