Has that young athlete child of yours become somewhat of a couch potato lately? Has the cancellation of all spring sports forced your son or daughter to trade participating in sports for accumulating “kills” in Fortnite or Call of Duty? Instead of playing lacrosse, soccer, baseball or softball, are your kids now spending countless hours each day staring mindlessly into a screen, watching TikTok videos, or playing Roblox?
The spring of 2020 will be remembered by all of us as a time of unprecedented struggle. For our kids, the spring of 2020 will be the time that physically attending school ended early and home schooling began. It will also be remembered as the time when youth sports were cancelled. As a parent, it is heartbreaking to watch our kids missing out on what for many has become such a large and enjoyable part of their lives. It is concerning to see how easily our children have replaced the daily physical activity of sports with sitting around and staring at a screen. What is all this sitting around doing to our children’s health?
Unfortunately, as parents, we don’t have great options for these sedentary kids right now (or do we?). Many parents have been suddenly thrust into a new daily home routine that most never planned for or wanted; balancing working from home with home schooling. To expect that we can also find time to become our child’s gym teacher, or coach, may be asking too much.
But try to look at this with an open mind. It is both healthy and fun to move together more as a family. By setting aside some time each day, we can find workable ways to get our kids off the couch. Before youth sports became such an obsession, children spent time playing tag, kick the can, or running bases. Unfortunately, with social distancing, kids are limited in their ability to gather in groups, but there are still a lot of choices for safely getting the kids up and active. Take your kids for a hike or a bike ride. Have a catch (either baseball or lacrosse), shoot baskets, or play whiffle ball. Consider inviting your kids to join you in doing what you enjoy for daily exercise. This could be a great time to teach your kids yoga or the techniques of weight training. Take them for a run or have them join you in doing other conditioning drills, including agility and plyometrics.
I have done all of this and more with my three young children. Spending this time with them and, in the process, staying active myself has really been a silver lining to my Covid-19 cloud. Today, we went to the local schoolyard and did some conditioning work with an agility ladder and hurdles. I attached some videos from our session.
Someday soon this will end and social activities will resume, including youth sports. Plan for it by staying healthy while waiting this out.