Remember the times when you and your childhood friends used to play around the neighborhood knowing every single pot hole, hidden passage, and secret hideouts? Those days were fun. You and your friends enjoyed many happy days in the outdoors and somehow, you feel like today, your kid's childhood is being robbed by digital time. It's true. We completely know how you feel. Nowadays, technology has moved the fun of outdoor games and put it into cyberspace. While games in cyberspace may be interesting but reducing outdoor time for kids can pose a lot of problems. Below is a list of some common problems:
• Babble Mouth Disease
Did you know that too much exposure to gadgets can really affect the speech development of your kids? We have to admit that we also commit this parenting mistake of letting our toddler play with our phones to keep them from throwing tantrums in public or from bothering us while we do some errands around the house. Sometimes we even let them sit in front of the TV for hours simply because it keeps them away from trouble, right? Truth is, developing brains gets hampered by all this and your child's language development is delayed because of it.
• Brain Drain Effect
As a child, your little one's brain grows up to three times its original size before your baby hits the age of 5. The brain is completely capable of growing on its own without the help of these gadgets. Brain development occurs more with personal interaction and movement. Overexposure to these gadgets actually causes attention deficit, slow cognitive development, and overall impaired learning.
• Couch Potato Syndrome
The worst we saw in how technology affected our generation was in producing couch potatoes. Unfortunately, our kid's generation is far worse than that. Your kid will not only be lazy but will depend mostly on gadgets to replace practically anything they consider to be fun. While laziness is one such effect, it could snowball into your kids getting fat, being less socially adept and being more introverted. These traits could invite bullying, and even cyber bullying causing social impairment or worse for your child.
• Cuss Mouth Disorder
Once our kids get hold of a gadget, we no longer have control over what games they play or what things they watch and do. It can be surprising that sometimes they discover things and can do more things on your phone than you can. A lot of mobile games come with a story especially for RPGs (role playing games—bet you didn't know that RPG was in their vocabulary until now, right?). It can involves a lot of cussing, slang, and language jargons that are beyond our imagination. Your kids may end up talking back to you and suddenly use language that will make your jaw drop!
• Sleep Anxiety
Games really are addictive and like anything addictive, it can be hard to stop doing and cause your child to lose sleep. Your child might even sneak in and steal your phone or access their gadget late in the evening just so they can get to the next level. Research has shown that kids who are addicted to gadgets and online gaming get 40% less sleep even if it's not directly related to them staying up to play games. Sleep deprivation in children leads to stress, crankiness, poor social interaction, short attention spans, and many other problems.
• Tantrum Malady
This is fairly common for kids who spend a lot of time on gadgets. They find it difficult to express themselves in words and when they don't get what they want they just end up throwing tantrums. Your child could become overwhelmed by emotions simply because they dropped their juice box, a spoonful of food, or ice cream dropped on the floor, or any small thing that may happen.
While our children are young, we still have control over our kids and letting them be attached to gadgets and appliances like the TV is in our hands. Once our kids get addicted to gaming or watching TV, the responsibility falls to us because we let them do it. Here are some reasons why we should let our kids engage in child-friendly sports and away from modern inventions.
7 Reasons Why Kids Should Play Sports
1. I can make friends!
This is one of the things both we and our kids love! The number of friends they make and the number of pictures we take! The great thing about sports for kids is that it cannot be done alone. Even individual kid sports have teams and each team comprises of different kids working altogether to reach one same goal. And one of the great aspects of sports is that you will find your child more socially interactive and less cooped up in their own little world.
Making friends is a good developmental aspect that your child needs to grow into a more sociable and more open-minded person. It is through friends that children become children and it is through friends that children understand more about themselves. Just think about it, you won't be who you are now without the fun things you and your childhood friends used to do together.
You and your childhood friends were completely happy doing crazy stuff no matter how bad a punishment you get when you go home completely soiled and dirty. The fun, the crazy antics, the punishments are things you all get to experience together and is what you continue to experience today with your current friends.
2. I have less stress!
Sports for children is a major stress reliever. It becomes an avenue for your kids to let out all the frustrations they may have from such things as: having a low mark on their homework, failing their math test, making mom get angry for painting on the wall, and much more. No matter how little it is, a child can easily get stressed and what better way to let it out than to do it playing sports! Sports allow your child to release all the tension in their bodies by engaging in rigorous exercises and fun activities.
Fun fact: Warm-up alone is enough to release 60% of the stress your body is feeling. So, if you are feeling a bit stressed out, join your kid as they do warm-up exercises and you'll feel a load lighter afterward. Your children will be more carefree and have fewer anger issues and anxiety which is one great reason why kids should play sports.
3. I learn how to work with others!
Whether its individual or team sports, your kid will learn how to work with other kids. Teamwork is essential for a healthy social life and your kids will benefit from learning team work while enjoying themselves. Team sports are great avenues not just to make friends but to learn to do things in a team and to learn to not always rely on oneself to get things done.
Team dynamics also teach a child how to compromise. Children will also learn discipline and self-control and through working together. These are aspects of life that are difficult for us to teach our kids, but essential for their growth. And therefore, helping your kids engage in team sports deserves your time, attention, affection, and encouragement.
4. I eat more and play more!
Playing sports promote a healthy, active lifestyle. And with an active lifestyle, your child naturally eats more. And children with an active lifestyle tends to prefer healthier food over junk food.
In one scientific experiment, hungry children were brought to a table with healthy snacks (cut fruit, vegetables) and junk food (chips and ice-cream). One group of children were playing outside just prior to being shown the food, while the others stayed indoors. The group who were outside generally chose healthier food options as compared to those who stay indoors. Scientists believe that subconsciously, your child's body knows what nutrients need replenishing and so after being active outdoors, their body tells their brain to pick out foods with high sources of vitamins and minerals since they were used up from their activities outdoors. Conversely those were were passive and indoors did not deplete resources as much so gravitated towards junk food as their brain knows those tasted good! Hmmm, go figure, right? You can try doing this yourself.
5. I'm having so much fun!
This is practically the number one reasons why kids like to play sports—it's a heck of a lot of fun! Doing things in real life will always be more fun that in cyber space. Fun is everything to kids and choosing the right sport will ensure that they stay active while having fun.
6. I can be myself!
Your child will develop skills through sports and become more self confident. As their confidence improves, it may also show up in other areas of his life such as in his grades, his social skills, even his artistic ability. Your child will feel a stronger sense of self.
Children playing sports are more likely to develop leadership skills. They first learn how to be a member of a team. As they grow older, the push to lead becomes more and more natural. This tendency to lead is the path to become a confident kid.
7. I can push myself to the limit!
Sports also involve tournaments or games against opposing teams. This type of friendly competition is important to teach them how to win, and how to lose. If they play against a stronger opponent, your child will see what's possible and learn how to push their limits to improve. Sports can be competitive but with the right mindset and proper coaching, your child will find competitions to be educational.
There are many positive for encouraging your children to participate in sports. The problem sometimes is right sport for your child. Another problem is if they're already exposed to games on their devices, how do you pry those tech gadgets out of your children's hands and convince them to get their butts off the couch?
• Let's go game time via digital time!
If you think your kids have cheat codes, you have one too. If your child is too difficult when it comes to what they want, cheat them into doing something that you want. Use their addiction against them and let your kids start off watching classical movies that involve sports like Karate Kid, Space Jam, Air Bud, and many more! Find something inspiring that your kids may actually want to learn trying this sport out even in his gadget.
• Backyard Practice
Get your kids some basketball hoops, or some toys they can play outdoors. You can start off by actually confiscating their gadget and replace it with a hoverboard, a nerf gun, a walkie talkie, or even a balance bike for your toddler. Once you can get them outside, try and see which catches your little ones interest. Does he like kicking balls, shooting hoops, or running from point A to point B? Just watching your kids alone will give you an idea what he likes. Get your friends to have play dates with your kids as well. Try and gauge if your child is friendly or aggressive with other kids. If your little one is too aggressive, maybe encourage him to do individual sports first.
• Say No to Bench Warmers
The first reason why kids love to play sports is fun. However, the problem is that team sports often have bench warmers. Don't allow your child to sit on the bench in any sport because it will be bad for their morale—don't pick a fight with the coach either. Just take your child off the sport and find one that would suit their character even more. We suggest martial arts and gymnastics as a great start since these are fun and target each individual in positive ways.
• Find what's fun and available
Of course, enrolling your kids in certain sports need some money. Don't be too fixated on a particular sport such that you have to find a soccer team in the next town simply because you think it's the best. There is so much choice today that you should be able to find a sport that your kids love that works well with your budget and is available in your town. Remember not to force something on your child or it may take all the fun out of it. The last thing you want is to put them off sports and push them to gaming for comfort! Find what is fun for him and focus on that.
In conclusion, let your children be children and involve them in plenty of outdoor activities. Children sports are meant to create happy healthy children. So start hiding those gadgets and let your kids go out and play!