As parents to a 7-year-old, my spouse and I as parents are constantly on the look out for ways to keep our daughter busy with productive and outdoor activities. The last 15-18 months due to covid -19 restrictions have been extremely difficult on us as parents as well as a lot of other parents to keep our young children engaged and busy in productive activities and hobbies which do not center around screen time. At least most adults could step out but our children have largely been sheltered indoors due to an absence of a Vaccine for Kids and safety concerns.
The fallout of Online schooling has meant increased screen time on a daily basis for almost all children in the age group of 6 – 16 years. This has been a cause of concern for us as well as most parents across the world. As parents we have tried all the tricks in the book to mitigate the effect of this increased screen time. We now have Screen on Demand and Content on demand for children across the world. So, given these facts and realities how can we as parents limit screen time for our children
A recent news piece on how China has implemented a rule which limits screen time and gaming time for young children has divided opinion amongst parents worldwide. The reasoning for this rule given by the Chinese authorities loosely translates to the youth cannot be allowed to spend time on screens and social media because it will turn their brains to mush whilst they are young which will impact the future of mankind.
Now this policy / rule did cause a long debate in my home as well
“How Can the state interfere in telling me on how to bring up my child”, thundered my spouse.
At the end of this argument the only thing we both agreed upon was that our child needs to spend more time outdoors and not in the confines of our home.
I started with Badminton and my daughter enjoyed learning the sport and became quite good at it. But this also meant a lot of other kids wanted to play with us which caused a small crowd and in interest of distancing and safety I has to abandon this plan after a few weeks
The next plan of action surrounded around Basketball which my daughter enjoys and showed a inclination to learn. But the challenge was to find a court which had an age-appropriate Basketball court for her!
I immediately got her on her trusted bicycle and took it upon me to get my daughter ride her cycle on a daily basis. A few weeks of daily cycling riding in the apartment complex have now turned into a daily ritual for me and my daughter.
I have realised that Cycling has had so many advantages that have allowed the screen time now being limited to just online schooling.
- Cycling is a physical activity that children can do individually and independently
- It is good for their growth of muscles and bones as many medical research has shown and proven.
- Cycling is a great cardio activity for kids of all ages
- Cycling brings in appreciation of the outdoors and nature
- It has allowed me to spend more quality time with my child and allowed for conversations that are meaningful and engaging
- It is an activity which if done right promotes healthy eating habits amongst children
- It takes up upto 60- 90 minutes a day which otherwise would have been spent indoors and more often than not in front of a screen.
- Cycling can help kids get to know their local area and feel part of it
- Cycling helps keeping the young minds alert and aware of their immediate surroundings.
So, jump on a bike and ride with your kids and you can see health benefits that gym members dream of
- cycling raises your metabolic rate, helping you to keep the weight off
- regular cyclists are as fit as an average person 10 years younger
- cycling firms, the thighs and bottom, and can even help tone the tummy muscles
Once the pandemic subsides and we have the opportunity to reimagine childhoods we need to bring cycling to the forefront as an activity or even as a sport for children across the world.
And please do not stop at your immediate family, cycling spans generations. It is
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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