With so many gadgets, indoor games and fear of insecurity in outdoor activities, children are becoming inactive. This is resulting in kids becoming lazy, lethargic and eventually risks of diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity are on the rise.
The West is already facing these problems while things are deteriorating in our country also. Due to the security issues prevailing in the country, parents are very hesitant in sending their children to sports clubs and parks. Even sending little ones in the streets is a trend that is diminishing at a fast pace. Mothers are more protective as they hear stories of child abuse in the media. Hence going out to play can be rarely seen in urban areas of Pakistan.
There are sports clubs for cricket and football all over the country. Again the issue of taking your child to one near you and the expense of joining one, are things that need to be considered. Inside the home children either want to watch TV or play with electronic devices. Going up and down the stairs is like a punishment for children. Hence this trend of inactivity is going to create major health issues for our children in their future. According to Pakistan Today,
The number of children living with obesity is predicted to cross five million in Pakistan by the year 2030, according to Atlas of Childhood Obesity published by the World Obesity Foundation. According to the report, 5,412,457 children in the country, between the ages of 5-19 years, will be obese.
Some tips for parents to encourage activity amongst children:
Now schools have so much to teach in terms of written work that there is very little time left for play and exercise. Here are a few suggestions that you can look into to keep your child active:
- Watching TV/playing with electronic devices should be allowed after doing homework and some physical exercise.
- Make your child do some house chores for a reward e.g. washing the car can be rewarded with some gift or money.
- Talk to the school administration to encourage children to eat healthy and do more physical activity e.g. you can volunteer to supervise football games after school once a week for an hour.
- Walk and they will walk! Remember role play….only when you will be physically active, your children will also follow the lead.
- Don’t push your child too much that they start taking exercise as a pain. If your child is obese, give him a goal/target and make a plan to achieve that goal. Motivate him with a prize for reaching his goals. For example, let him have a cheat day once a week where he can have his favorite food like chocolate.
- Don’t scare them with stories of diabetes and heart problems but educate the older ones. Let them know that you are concerned about their health and would be more than happy to help them become more active and take up some sport.
If you have any ideas for making kids more active, please share them with us!