How do we know what the right balance is for mental stimulation and physical activity within not only ourselves but our children too?
It is a very strange time for us all at the moment. The unexpected Coronavirus outbreak has thrown us all in a spin, and we’ve had to make drastic changes in our lives both personally and professionally to get through what is the unknown. When will it end? who knows? All we can do is take each day as it comes and form new habits to get through this, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we are a strong species, very clever ones too, we just need to master the art of patience, and stay at home to save lives and the NHS.
It is quite easy to get into the habit of giving our children devices more just so we can get on with our work too, then adding home schooling on top is enough to make your cup just overflow and never stop! So, I thought maybe I could help you get the balance between physical activity, and leisurely Ipad or computer time, and one that works well for me currently.
The government guidelines states that adults should get a minimum of 30 minutes physical activity everyday, and children should get at least 60 minutes every day, this can be accumulated throughout the day and does not need to be one solid physical training session.
Well, right now this can be incredibly challenging, especially as we are only able to go out and exercise as a family or as an individual once a day. I believe during this time that the average adult is possibly exercising a little more than they did though, and I feel that the children have an opportunity to get more in too if we plan and add little but often to accumulate the 60 minutes children need.
A five-year-old may be able to focus on their school work for around 15 minutes, while a 10-year-old can stay on task for the best part of an hour, by mixing up regular brain breaks and playtime with their screen time you’ll be helping them develop well mentally and physically.
We would not actually be able to function now without computers and the internet, so embrace it in bite sized pieces and just make sure they ‘keep moving’.
Offering a reward scheme for leisurely screen time also works well too, it is a good idea to still make the children realise that screen time must be earnt, whether its Ipads, computer games or television that is not related to school work. If they are getting enough exercise throughout the day, you will not need to worry about this so much. (Education Guidance for Covid 19)
Always make sure too that Ipads and computers are turned off at least an hour before bed, give your brain a chance to unwind, otherwise they will still be over stimulated when you are trying to get them to sleep.
Every morning my family and I do a 30-minute exercise session together at home, and then every 20 minutes my children have a ‘brain break’. These brain breaks include various exercises that just get the body moving, here are a few ideas.
- Jellybean- get them to shake the body all over like a jelly for 20 seconds. This gets the kids laughing and always brushes away the cobwebs.
- Jumping Jacks- start with your feet together, arms down by your side. Jump your feet apart, swinging your arms up, and clap overhead. How many can they do in 30 seconds?
- Jumping Jills– stand with one foot in front of the other as if you are walking. Jump up and switch legs. How many can you do in 30 seconds?
- Windshield Wiper Arms– bring both arms up in front of your body and bend your arms upwards at the elbows. Now sweep your arms together from one side to the other. Repeat this at least 10 times.
- Wake Ups- In a squat position, with your hands touching the ground in front of your knees, shift your weight to your hands and jump both feet back into a plank position. Jump your feet back in and come to a standing position. Repeat this 10 times.
(All of these brain break exercises are on Our YouTube Channel so check it out and our other video’s on there to help you get the balance between technology and exercise during Covid 19 Don’t forget to subscribe!)
Our Roll and Exercise Game:
To play this, you will need a 1-6 dice, and a friend or family member to play with.
Choose 6 child friendly exercises such as.
2. Running in Place
3.Windshield Wiper Arms
6. Push Ups
Each time you roll a number you perform that exercise, for example
Roll a number 2 = Do Running in place.
You can decide if you want to perform the exact repetitions that match the exact number, or you can time them for 10-20 seconds each. This game never gets dull, you can change all the exercises each time you play it, so no game is ever the same!
Remember you are the parent or carer and you decide what you feel is right for your child. Do not punish yourself or feel guilty if screen time has increased a lot more than normal, strange times call for strange measures and you have a lot to balance now. Follow the daily recommended guidelines for your child’s activity level as best you can, and you will be right on track. Join in the brain breaks with them, make the most of that family time together as this is a ‘once in a lifetime’ situation that will never arise again, stay home, protect the NHS, and save lives!
You are doing a great job; this will go down in history and you are a big part of it!
For more information on