Some parents have days where everyone gets unplugged. They turn off video games, television, and computers for the day in an attempt to get their kids up and moving. I, on the other hand, have turned to technology to keep my kids moving.
First, let’s start with how video games keep everyone in our family active. We have both a Wii and Kinect. For both systems we have games that require you to get up and move. I have found that if I play these games with my kids they play them for longer periods of time and love the challenge of trying to beat their mom. The stay engaged and active for well over an hour. Whether we are dancing, boxing, or ski-jumping we are all moving together. We also have games that do allow you to just sit and play and I believe once and while everyone needs a little down time. We just limit the time on those games to a half hour, two to three times per week. However, they are permitted to play the active games whenever they want.
Next, onto the television. Most cable and satellite providers offer music stations as part of your package. I turn on one of the party mix stations and run it through large speakers and we blast the calories away. We dance, jump on our mini-trampoline, step up and down on the stepper, jump rope, and do all sorts of wacky moves. We have plenty of space to all move around at the same time and love making up new moves. My daughter even tries to videotape some of these events…..again finding ways to enjoy technology while being active!
Finally, the computer. YouTube is a great place to find exercise videos for your children to follow along with. I recently found a video that was done by a fifth grade class to encourage other kids their age to be active through dance moves.If you are really adventurous you could have your kids make their own video and post it to Facebook or YouTube. (Which after my daughter reads this article she will most likely be begging me to do)!
Technology is here to stay whether you like it or not, so use it as a way to keep you and your kids active. You may also want to consider downloading fitness apps and trackers onto your child’s tablet, cell phone, or other hand-held device. Most are free or just a few dollars. Pedometers are another way to measure how active you are on a typical day and push yourself to increase your steps each day. Children can create a chart to mark their steps over a period of time to see how active they have been. There are so many ways to combine technology and fitness and if you want your child to practice lifelong fitness, one of these ideas might be the right place for you to start!