If kids were to sit in one place without throwing tantrums, being naughty or giggling in between they are likelier to be termed as ‘small’ adults who only differ physically. The enthusiasm, energy and excitement are what makes a child adorable always. Talking to a child makes even the saddest or lonely person to be filled with happiness and a sense of contentment. Such is the power of kids! Alas, these lovely children are pushed into playschools and daycares owing to family needs. While kids earlier entered school premises not before the age of four or five, nowadays even toddlers as young as 1.4 years are enrolled into schools, given ID cards, school bags and made to follow a routine. Some schools even insist on uniform for these tiny tots.
Being with our children rekindles our free spirits and keeps us brimming with energy. Its yet another opportunity to relive our younger days. Adults often lack energy and the spirit in life whereas children are overloaded with both! Controlling all their energy, restricting all their wishes to move around freely and pushing them into schools is very saddening and disappointing. Looking beyond the fact that we are living in a competitive world and that students need to be thoroughly trained to perform well schools must also incorporate physical fitness and activities into daily routines every single day in school. Just like math and science, teachers must be trained to teach physical literature.
Increasing obesity rates and devastating childhood obesity numbers prevailing worldwide has changed the outlook of many schools and these educational institutions are incorporating more movement into the day. The challenge here is to keep monitoring these schools constantly inspiring them to focus on physical activity despite stringent academic deadlines and also ensure enough monetary funds for training purposes.
Channeling Energy towards Productive Things
One needs to introduce physical activity breaks in between for nurturing better learners. Movement stimulates nerve cells and by stimulating nerve cells we get geared up to do things. Exercising also sparks off attention system enabling you to focus better, be more attentive, deal with frustrations in a composed manner and remain attentive for a longer time. Beyond neural connections and increased blood flow exercising plays a major role in benefitting mental health. Moving more and physical activity turns on the frontal part of the brain associated with information processing and better performance.
A review of 26 studies showed that kids who were exposed to better physical activity schedules and more movement were better in reading and math. Published in the Pediatrics journal the analysis involved more than 10,000 children aged between 4 and 13 years of age. Physical activity, especially physical education enhanced classroom behavior which in turn led to a dramatic improvement in academic performance owing to better cognitive skills. Another important point to note is that exercise and activity help kids use their abundant energy in the right way focusing on the blackboard as well as solving many of their interpersonal problems with better composure. Otherwise, the excess energy stores erupt as behavioral problems or improper conduct in school. Such structured play activities encourage children to manage their unstructured times efficiently, play independently and use recess time in the right way- that is, with aplenty fun and games.
Schools need to incorporate at least 60 minutes of activity every day as many children don’t get the opportunity to play outdoor games as previously practiced by the earlier generations. Lack of outdoor spaces is definitely a reason to blame but so are the increased use of smartphones and other electronic gadgets.
Offering Schools Better Solutions
The study found that exercise played a bigger role benefitting students when it was incorporated in between two periods than when it was offered as an extracurricular activity. The study expanded physical activity time from 10 minutes to 60 minutes per day in the form of after-school activities, stretched recess breaks and inserting activity breaks between lessons during school. Yet, the researchers lacked information on the best exercise forms that garnered maximum benefits for the children.
Many schools are still hesitant to incorporate big changes to accommodate physical activity into its daily routine. Teachers often worry about the student’s academic performance when much time is spent on physical training. But there are a lot of them who have started realizing that physical activity improves academic results although it might be much tougher and challenging to finish the curriculum in the stipulated time while accommodating physical activity too.
Kids spend most part of their day in school and parents love to ensure that their kids spend it as effectively as possible. The latest trend has been enrolling their wards in schools that offer a mix of education and physical education, search for ones that treat extracurricular activities with due importance and seek admission in those schools which encourage students to take part in sports. Parents must also have a one-on-one discussion with teachers, administrators and children for making their wishes a reality.
Good health exists as the basis for all other things to fall in place. Schools are a very busy place overwhelming with activities and events. Parents and teachers play an equal role in enriching the lives of their wards. Parents can come up with suggestions streamlining information and teachers should start accepting changes for the betterment of kids. There is no harm in asking students to get up for a minute in between class, dance to some step and then continue with the lessons. Also, not missing on breakfast, eating a healthy lunch and relishing timely snacks are critical for a child’s performance in school. A wholesome breakfast provides the kid with all the nutrients required for academic inclination and improved performance. Read more about the effects of a healthy diet on academic performance at www.firsteatright.com which also offers nutrition and dietetics help to deal with your kids’ imbalanced eating styles.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.