Kids are typically restless and movement-oriented. Any prolonged period of time cooped up in a confined space is equivalent to a death sentence to a normal child. With the advent of the digital revolution, the tendency to move has largely transferred to online games and videos, with increased danger of childhood health issues. With the Lockdown imposed due to COVID-19, what little exercise kids used to get by means of playing at school or doing exercise during Physical Education lessons is non-existent now. Therefore, it is important to understand what physical exercise can be had at home during this Lockdown time, without it becoming another boring chore.
Most schools have moved online during this time, and are conducting classes using platforms such as Google Classroom and apps such as Zoom. Encourage your kids to walk during the time in between lessons, play with a ball or with a pet. At any cost, avoid continuous sitting in one position for a prolonged period of time. It is commendable that some schools still continue their PE lessons online, even asking students to wear PE attire for the duration of the class.
With parents also mostly working from home, it is beneficial to all to have some time devoted to house chores such as cleaning, folding clothes and gardening. The body gets moving once you decide to have a tiny vegetable garden by the side of the kitchen area with your kids. Many young kids love to vacuum their own room, and this is another chore that could be done on a daily basis.
This is an ideal time to take advantage of scores of online classes available, many of which are free and easily found on YouTube. There are exercises suitable for the whole family that can be done together without getting anyone particularly exhausted. One advantage of doing exercise together is increased motivation. Alone, it is more difficult to exercise. For kids, it is enjoyable to see their parents doing the same exercise as themselves.
Help your child take advantage of every little chance to walk. It could be fetching a glass of water for each of the parents from the kitchen, for example. Walking the family pet dog even in a small, confined space gives some movement for tiny muscles. With very young kids, walking can be turned into a game for the mother and the child, with each walking from opposing sides of the room and hugging in the middle.
Learning at home during Lockdown time need not be done glued to the chair in front of the computer. You could invest in a standing desk or simply make one up using a high table or a pile of books. The aim is to reduce sedentary sitting time as much as possible. Ideally, every 30 minutes of sedentary sitting time should be interrupted by a brief walk-about or standing and stretching.
There are many games and game-equipment that can be bought which can be invaluable for an active life indoors for very young kids. A few examples are a mini-trampoline, twister, a balance beam, indoor obstacle course and scavenger hunt. If you would like to go easy on spending, some of these games can use simple household items. For example, an indoor obstacle course can be easily made by rearranging furniture.
There are many families who decide on a particular time to be active together. It may be a morning Yoga session or evening basketball game. It could even be just getting out of the house in the evening for a walk around. When it is done as a family together, there is greater family bonding, in addition to the much-needed physical activity.
In a lot of households, the inactive time is mainly the time spent in front of the television or on the mobile phone, chatting and watching videos or playing online in the case of kids. It is of enormous benefit to physical and psychological health to switch off access to the internet between 5 pm and 7 pm every single day. This will in effect release everyone from the bondage to the screen and give them freedom to move outside, or engage in physical activities indoors. The key to this strategy being successful is that everyone in the family should agree on this, and parents should be consistent in enforcing it.