Principal's Desk: ‘Kids staying active for 60 minutes each day will stay fitter'
Amid a raging debate of the impact of online activities on children, the lockdown caused by the Covid-19 outbreak witnessed the sudden shift of academics from the normal to the virtual mode which further drove children into a more inactive lifestyle.
During this time, most children also experienced a further dip in their already inadequate level of physical activity and a consequent lack of balance with food intake, as well as strong sense of boredom.
So, when Unesco highlighted the grave threat of childhood obesity and its consequences, the world body’s note of caution was indeed a timely one.
The benefits of activities like loitering in the school corridors, enjoying short games during the recesses, rushing to the washroom just before the teacher arrived, some of which often evoked frowns earlier, suddenly seemed ever so dear and were sorely missed.
As we now face an extended closure of schools for students till Class 8 till July 2021, it would be highly advisable for adults to initiate a self-driven fitness programme at homes and act on this as an emergency.
We can help alter children’s attitudes towards fitness by encouraging them to stay physically active for at least 60 minutes each day. These 60 minutes may be further divided into tiny capsules of physical activity spread across the day.
Small changes in our lifestyle can foster three-fold benefits – grabbing the fleeting attention of children, dealing with their constant cry of “I’m bored!” and combating the obesity threat.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Start the day early: Spring is in the air. Go for a walk and enjoy the bounties of nature. How about blowing bubbles in the park and chasing them
2. Arrange short games like ‘Play the minute’ at home. For e.g.: Spread a deck of cards on the floor and race to collect the most in a minute.
3. Provide children with equipment that boosts physical activity. Most homes can provide abundant material to create interesting games such as a ball fight with crushed old papers.
4. Watching television after dinner can be replaced with fun activities to be done solo or with friends and family, like walking, playing hide and seek, chase and catch or riding a bicycle.
5. Parents must lead by example. Physical activity, less screen time and healthy eating are habits that can be inculcated only if the environment at home resounds with these.
A word of caution: Don’t be a ‘buzz kill’ all the time. Do give into your children’s silliness and innocent demands without much protest. After all, happiness at home is an imperative requirement to help children grow mentally, emotionally and physically fit.