Admit it. When we need to do something, most of us never think twice of plopping our kids in front of the television. Why not? It’s the most convenient way of keeping them preoccupied while we do our never ending errands. Televisions could run for hours and hours to entertain the kids and never complain, while we happily check our emails, pay bills, balance the checkbook, cook dinner, etc. without being disturbed.
But, have we stop and think about what this is doing to our kids? Have we ever wonder how does the media influence the way people behave? More specifically, can the media influence child behavior? I’ve seen kids who have social skills issues – preferring to just sit down and watch tv by themselves rather than playing with other kids. I was horrified last week to hear a 5 year old girl on the salon I was having my pedicure at, say, that’s my favorite show when she saw “That’s 70s show” shown on the tv. I don’t watch That’s 70s show but what I’ve seen at that time is enough to say it’s not suppose to be watched by kids. Anyway, long story short, our children pick up a lot of things from what they see and hear and you very well know that unless you screen the shows they watch, majority of the programs on tv are geared for adults — violent, sex related, foul language, bad behaviors, etc.
Aside from behavior-related impact, making our kids just watch television for the rest of the day promotes lack of physical activity leading to obesity, in most cases. We must carefully plan on how we keep our kids preoccupied and not just rely on television to do the job. Engaging our children to physical activities or exercises would be a smarter way of keeping them busy.
At home, instead of turning the tv on, I let my kids play in their playroom or in the family room while I cook or clean the house. Through play, I give them the opportunity to explore things on their own and learn while having fun. Since they both love to sing and dance, I put in dance cds (that are kid-friendly) and just let them dance and sing along, joining them from time to time while doing some other chores. My kids actually love doing this because we all get to do a lot of dancing and silly things!
I also signed them to ballet and taekwondo classes since it’s their interest. While they attend their classes, I spend my time productively waiting for them. I usually bring my laptop with me in the car, checking my emails, posting receipts to quicken and balancing my checkbook and credit card statements as well as pay our bills online. If I’m not busy with these tasks, this is also a perfect time for me to do grocery shopping. A friend of mine brings her chopping board with her in the car and chops the veggies for dinner! Talk about how productive you could get!
Both classes not only promote physical activity, they improve their flexibility which is good for their body, as well as enhance their social skills and develops self confidence. Let me share with you some of the benefits children could get from martial arts as Kaya Martial Arts (where my kids go) states. Through martial arts, children benefit from:
Great concentration and focus – that means better grades!
Self control and self discipline – that means better behavior at home and school
Fitness – which means better coordination, more strength, and better performance in sports
Self Confidence (I can do it!) – which means ability to handle peer pressure: a big help on overcoming peer pressure!
Fun! The opportunity to meet new friends and try new challenges in an environment that encourages positive attitudes and values!
My kids will not only benefit from these things, they are also working to achieve Kaya’s goal for their students which is to attain internal perfection with the balance between the mind, body and spirit. This gives them the opportunity to be in touch with their inner selves. Working on your inner self and achieving unity of your mind, body and spirit is the best way you could develop confidence and self esteem.
The next time you are tempted to just plop them in front of the tv, remember that advantages to physical activity includes boosting self esteem. So plan your children’s activities smarter!