How to arrange children’s free time effectively to support their development, wellbeing and health during the holidays? Experts say that it is worth focusing on physical activity which the youngest lack, especially after the period of remote learning and social isolation.
– Even before the outbreak of the pandemic, the WHO alarmed that over 80% of children are not physically active enough. The lockdown, the time of isolation when children were unable to leave the house on their own, and months of remote learning are likely to worsen these statistics. At the same time, the pandemic exacerbated the problem of a sedentary lifestyle and had a negative impact on the mental health of children. All these factors make physical activity particularly important today, both in mitigating the effects of the pandemic as well as in the context of supporting children’s health in the future – explains Mateusz Banaszkiewicz, health psychologist at the SWPS University.
More time at home means more time online
A survey conducted by the Institute of Mother and Child shows that during the pandemic nearly 40% of children between 11 and 18 years old increased their activity in social media. As many as 60% of them admitted that one of the problems they experienced during the pandemic was boredom. Most of them (80%) does not plan their day.
– Today, parents play a special role in building healthy habits among children. For the younger generation the Internet is an easily accessible form of entertainment that requires no effort and provides a lot of stimulus. That is why it becomes such a frequent choice of children and teenagers. However, there is a solution that is good both for adults and children. We just need to be an example of an active lifestyle for our kids or create opportunities for them to learn different sports. In this way we will have a better chance that they will find joy in it. Playing sports together will also be a great solution as in this way, in addition to healthy habits, we also build a relationship with the child and devote our time, which is especially valuable in the eyes of children. Let's show the youngest that the Internet does not have to be only a source of passive entertainment. For example, we can take advantage of online training dedicated to parents and children – encourages the psychologist.
During the pandemic, many online solutions have been developed to support physical activity. One of them is the Polish training platform, Yes2Move.com, which includes hundreds of trainings, also those supporting activities with children.
Holidays full of possibilities
During the holidays, the sports offer is significantly expanding and the weather as well as more free time are conducive to various activities. In the summer months, in addition to workouts in training rooms, children can take advantage of outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts and rope parks. Which disciplines are the most popular? Among children who use MultiSport Kids sports cards, swimming, dancing and martial arts are the most popular activities. MultiSport data also shows that children who have access to various forms of activity practise at least two sports on average. In turn, surveys conducted among adults show that as many as 78% of MultiSport Programme users exercise more often thanks to the card. In the summer adults can also choose from many additional activities as part of the MultiSport card, including kayaking, paddleboarding and playing tennis as well as rope parks and summer swimming pools. The wide range of sports and facilities available through the MultiSport card for adults largely coincides with the cards dedicated to children, which is conducive to family activity.
– The changed working and living conditions over the past months had a negative impact on our health and damaged our relationships. One of the good solutions that will help strengthen immunity as well as improve wellbeing and family or social relationships is physical activity. It is therefore not surprising that employers need to support an active lifestyle, which is expected by employees, especially during the pandemic. For many working parents, the possibility of spending free time with their children actively is an extremely important factor when choosing the MultiSport card and its additional versions designed for the youngest – explains Emilia Rogalewicz, Management Board Member at Benefit Systems.
During the summer holidays, there are also summer and day camps which are an interesting idea for arranging children’s free time. Sports day camps for children aged 5 to 12 are organised, for example, in the Warsaw Atmosfera MultiSport. The day camp agenda combines sport and learning as part of a fictionalised space adventure with the use of interactive technologies to encourage children to actively participate in the proposed exercises.
Active holidays translate into good preparation for the school year. Physical activity stimulates the work of the brain and improves cognitive skills such as memory and concentration. According to researchers from the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, practising sport on regular basis also has a positive effect on school performance. Based on a 2017 study of 10,000 children, researchers found that physically active students were not only more focused in class, but also had better grades in math and reading skills.
MultiSport: The MultiSport Programme enables employees (and their families) to take up physical activity in sports facilities and at home. Thanks to the wide offer, its users can take care of themselves comprehensively, using the sports infrastructure and additional attractions such as online training or sports challenges available at www.kartamultisport.pl.
Senior PR Specialist Benefit Systems