Kids today are often seen glued to TV screens, tablets and smartphones, while their parents are usually busy with office work or household chores. Having technology ‘baby-sit’ our children has resulted in a marked decrease in our youths’ mental and physical health.
While this seems to be a rather serious issue, following are some simple and easy ways to help your child not only develop physically, but also progress in his or her cognitive abilities.
You need to discourage the unsupervised and uncontrolled use of technology. There’s no doubt that the internet, when used as a tool for learning and teaching, is of significant importance, but our children’s addiction to smart phones or tablets can be detrimental to their growth and development.
For quite some time now, health experts have expressed concerns that excessive screen time may be linked to obesity. While staring at screens, kids get into the habit of unnecessary snacking, the latter mainly consisting of junk food such as potato chips and sugary drinks, which then turn into an addiction of sorts for these foods.
Decreasing screen time and sedentary activities and replacing them with outdoor activities is probably the first step in improving our children’s physical and mental health, and also in helping to sustain a health weight.
Allowing Kids to Play Freely
Motivate kids to play by themselves and create fun outdoor activities. This gives them the time and opportunity to grow physically, socially, emotionally and mentally. Through regular playing sessions – be it at parks, in the backyard, at amusement parks – children tend to develop practical skills as well, such as riding a bike, playing football, etc.
Moreover, playing freely allows kids to identify and assess risks on their own, which helps in developing good judgment and problem solving skills. This doesn’t imply that parents and caregivers aren’t nearby. When posed with a challenge when playing on their own, kids will understand how to respond to emergency situations and who to call for when help is needed.
Making Time to Play Together
Despite being overworked and exhausted, like most parents always are, always try and make time to play and indulge in some activities with your kids. This isn’t just rewarding for your child’s growth, it also serves as some time-off for you! Dedicating some time every day to solely play with your child makes him feel loved and helps develop a deep and nurturing bond. Such children are also seen to be more confident and suffer from less psychological issues.
Going for Walks or Running
Apart from physical activities that involve playing and discovering, a simple walk or jog in the park or around the neighborhood can do wonders for both physical and mental development of kids. Children involved in a higher level of physical activity from an early age are more likely to continue this practice in their adult life as well, resulting in a happier and healthier lifestyle.
A daily or 15-30 minute stroll helps form a healthier body composition, and improves bone and muscle growth and cardiovascular strength. On the other hand, walks promote the growth of motor skills and enhance thinking and concentration skills. You can add some competitiveness by encouraging them to participate in one of those kids races.
Enforcing Healthy Habits
Last, but not the least, is focusing on overall healthy habits.Mental health issues often arise when children feel abandoned, misunderstood or insecure.The development of safety and security begins at home, and it is the responsibility of the parents to ensure their child is growing up with a good set of lifestyle values.
Be committed to your role as a parent and as a friend as well. Respond promptly to the needs of your kids, whether its hunger, sickness or fear. Be consistent in what you say and mean, fulfill your promises, and make sure to listen attentively to your children when they are talking to you. A healthy and balanced diet, adequate sleep, and regular exercise will also contribute to the mental well-being of your kids.
Raising children is no doubt, a daunting and demanding process. However, with the right knowledge and understanding, you can sharpen both, their physical and cognitive growth, and give them a healthy upbringingfull of pleasantries.