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Children's health & hi-tech games

Two of the most important gifts you can give a child are Health and Confidence. This is not the easiest thing to achieve when competing against the bombardment of hi-tech games and gadgets being targeted at them from as early as two years old, especially at Christmas-time. However, it is acknowledged that using tablets for school helps children better prepare for a world saturated in technology. But there are also serious downsides to the games and activities our children are exposed to, with the ubiquitous iPad and other screen renderings such as phones, tablets, laptops and game consoles. Trying to restrict their access to them is getting even more difficult and would require the vigilance of a full time Super-Nanny. I know we would all love to have one of ​them at home! However, failing that, we busy parents ourselves have to be aware of the pitfalls and consequences of over-exposing our children to hi-tech games.

We need to be conscious of striking a healthy balance between physical and virtual activities. Being sedentary ​(constantly seated) is not what human beings were designed to do. Human physiology by its nature is all about movement. Our skeletal, muscular, endocrine, vascular, and lymphatic systems all need flow and movement to be able to maintain their purpose and keep the body in its optimum condition. Constantly sitting down challenges this and is detrimental to human health. Coupled with the high sugar content of the processed food that is also targeted at children, this should be setting off alarm bells in our heads. If we look at how our children’s day is spent, in comparison to how we spent our childhood days, the contrast is considerable.

Most of the school day is spent sitting at a desk. The younger children are driven to and collected from school. More time is then spent sitting, studying or doing homework. As soon as that's finished, they might play the iPad or game console or even watch Youtube. They then sit at dinner time, as they are supposed to, and after that it might be back to the gadget or watching TV with the family. Even at bedtime they may be sneaking more minutes in, staring at a blue screen before lights out. This can also result in poor quality sleep.

All this leaves little time for physical activities, or even proper social interaction. Do you remember playing games on the street as a child, running around, chasing, climbing trees, kicking the can, skipping and so on? Try ask a child today to play like that, as you prise the iPad from their grip, and you'll end up with a Tasmanian devil on your hands. On-screen games can make kids anti-social and lethargic. They can also be incredibly frustrating to a young mind. It seems to me that the more time children spend interacting with a screen, the more it reduces their social skills and their ability to interact with other people. One thing I learned as a young parent: the most important thing a child learns in its formative years is to learn how to play. All the skills needed to get on in life are contained therein.

Getting kids to enjoy physical exercise is more important now than ever before, especially in view of the increasing amount of time they spend on computer-based activities. From two years old, more children are spending inordinate amounts of time sitting down playing with gadgets. Less time is being spent on physical activities and development.

At my studio (Empower Dance & Fitness Studio) we believe in teaching dance and fitness to 3 year olds and up, in a fun and healthy environment. I believe this is not only a great way to strike the all-important balance between physical and virtual activities, but it is an imperative part of a child’s development. Dance classes like ballet and contemporary dance give your child poise, elegance and strength. This will help them gain confidence, make new friends, and express themselves creatively. These are some of the learning objectives built into our classes, which we hope will help redress the balance. We want to see our kids have fun while exercising, and thrive as they learn these all-important skills. If children develop skills like these at an early age, they are less likely to suffer a lot of the teenage issues we see nowadays that come from a lack of body confidence and low self-esteem. If you would like your child to be part of our club, then give me a call and we can have a chat about class times and suitability. Thanks for reading my blog. If you have any comments on the content, or if you have any queries, just contact me. See my contact details below. Best of luck, Teresa.

P.S. See my new offer for Kids' classes starting in January. Also, you can buy gift vouchers for these classes, which make a wonderful gift for any child. Early booking is advised as places are limited.

TBA

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