There are children that are drawn to being active. Other children are soaked into sedentary lifestyles and getting them moving calls for a little creativity. Therefore, the name “Cre-Activity” is born (courtesy of a friend of mine Pastor Heredes). Sedentary is a word that describes sitting around. Now more then ever, children are at risk for more adult health issues such as developing type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Exercise and healthy eating for kids should be on the increase while sedentary lifestyle and processed food should be on the decrease to counter these health conditions.
Exercise for a child lessens their chance at obesity, increases their self-esteem and strengthens their heart. This week I had the privilege to work out Pre-K through 5 graders at a local elementary school in addition to my 16 year old client as well. There is magic in being around young kids and teens. It is as though they can make you feel youthful. They laugh lots and are in the moment.
But something is happening with a bulk of our kids. It is called technology. It is pulling them in and decreasing their desire to want to play active games. Have we thought about the fact that some kids are playing video games where the characters in the games are being active but the child is sedentary playing the game. I did some self reflecting here in my childhood, career as a physical education teacher (Bronx & Washington Heights) and finally as mom.
When I was growing up, there was not much electronics. Most kids did not have cell phones or iPad to carry around. I remember going to play basketball with my older brothers, play tag and handball. Didn’t need much to get a great sweat and tons of interaction with other kids. My mom said a kid that comes home dirty from the park is a happy kid. Things have changed depending on the communities I have taught in and lived in. In some communities, doors are left unlocked with kids playing in the yard. Other communities, kids have to come straight home due to lack of neighborhood safety. So how can we get “Cre-Active” in those circumstances?
As an Athletic Director/ Physical Education Teacher
My favorite part of being in this role is tough to narrow down. Being able to see children find out physical talents they didn’t know they had, or develop talents even further. Once coming back from Winter Break, I asked the kids what were some ways they remained active. A bulk of them said they spent most time on their devices. In fact, giving a talk on fitness at a recent youth camp, some kids shared they spent about 14 hours a day on their phones or video games. So how can we get “Cre-Active” in those circumstances.
As a Mom
Oh here we go! The lecture about kids learn from what we see. Yes but my son watches me work out but has not much desire to jump in. He would rather play on Ipad, paint or watch his favorite movies. If he had a choice, he would do that all day. It is time to get “Cre-Active”. We all have unique kids and living environments. The fun part of being Cre-Active is getting to know what he enjoys and getting Cre-Active from there. What will have him feel this is a reward as opposed to a demand. I have tried placing my little man in programs that I thought he would enjoy as well as have our own little exercise sessions but eventually, the light bulb went off. He enjoys the water so began a swimming program that he loves now.
So here is my question.
What does the child enjoy to do? If it is not an active thing… how can doing something slightly active earn them that favorite thing? For example… some of the kids that I got active today don’t like dance but loved the movie Sing. Once I played songs from Sing, they were actively moving and singing at the same time. We got Cre-Active!
What game is your child playing on the computer? Example: If the child likes building games or Lego, taking them to a life-size environment with soft blocks is a great way to get them moving. Think of the exercises they don’t realize is occurring. Squatting to pick up a block and reaching to put it on top. Over and Over again. We got Cre-Active!
What I realized most in getting “Cre-Active” is that I enjoy putting my own phone, computer, TV aside to enjoy some of those Cre-Active moments with him. Putting in the family calendar days where we get moving together disguised as adventures are also fun. Budget a thought… plenty of local websites offer coupons or discounts. There are also free opportunities such as walking after dinner or going to a local park.
Would love to hear from you. What are some of your favorite ways to get Cre-Active?