Soon after our first child was born, I remember my mom telling me, “Always keep your children busy and they are less likely to get into trouble.” Those were the days of only 13 channels on TV and no computers, cell phones or internet.
Mom had wisdom beyond her years. Although, she never could have imagined the world in which our kids are living today.
I want to add an addendum to her mantra: Keep kids busy and physically active and they are less likely to find themselves in trouble.
Fitness.gov/resource-center/facts-and-statistics states, “More than 80% of adolescents do not do enough aerobic physical activity to meet the guidelines for youth. Children now spend more than seven and a half hours a day in front of a screen, e.g., TV, videogames, computer.”
I know for most families today, busy is an understatement. Largely because, there is no shortage of tech equipment and TV stations in most homes. Last I heard, there are well over 200 television stations – and, twice that many websites – available to kids today! Schools have afterschool indoor classes available as well.
Exactly why my added addendum includes the words PHYSICALLY ACTIVE!
You already know about our 10 precious grandchildren. As of today, we have two in swimming, two playing volleyball, one playing softball, one gymnast, two in choir and the youngest two quite good at running in the yard. This all happens after school.
Physical activity is so important for school-aged kids. When I was growing up, we came inside for dinner with flushed cheeks and out of breath from riding our bikes around the neighborhood. We also spent a great deal of time at church with outside activities. This physical element rarely happens anymore.
A comprehensive study and analysis of existing research found that leisure-time physical activity in children is associated with reduced risk of 13 different types of cancer. (http://www.aspenprojectplay.org/the-facts). Read that again. This is only ONE of many benefits listed.
So, we – as parents and grandparents – must purposefully plan activities that keep our kids moving.
Simple idea if weather is not cooperating: Blow up some round balloons. Play a game of indoor volleyball. Yes, I did this a couple days ago with two of our granddaughters- over the kitchen table- and got quite a workout! (I almost won!)
Believe it or not, temperaments apply here as well. The following insight will help adults understand which kids need extra encouragement in this area.
GREEN kids are the most likely to avoid physically activity. They are laid back, easy going, sweet kids but not inclined to get moving on their own. Low motivation.
BLUE kids, also, would rather sit and play video games or read than run around playing physical activities. However, once engaged, BLUES are diligent and conscientious.
YELLOW kids love anything where friends can be made. They enjoy being on a team, however, if they excel and draw accolades- even better! YELLOWS are not as inclined to participate in individual sports i.e. bike riding, running, pole vault etc.
RED kids are great competitors; so, they need less encouragement for most activities. Self- motivators! REDS are the kids making up the rules and running the games anyway- team or individual! (Highest percentage of Olympic qualifiers are RED)
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In addition to keeping kids active, be sure to know with whom your kids play. Wise parenting includes knowing who your kids’ friends are and what their conversations involve. Most parents can monitor their kids’ relationships by chatting when activities are over. It is a good idea to volunteer driving to and from events, so you are also aware of the families influencing your kids. Meet their coaches. Guard your child’s heart!
“Above everything else, guard your heart. Everything you do comes from it.” Proverbs 4:23
Kids need to experience God’s beautiful earth. Take – or send – them outside to play SOON!