When schools re-opened in June, Dr S Sachidananda Kamath, a leading pediatrician in Kochi said that he was happy to see the kids back in School as that’s the time when they get to play after two months of sedentary life or confinement within the four walls of the house.
What the doc said is quite true. With play areas diminishing, advent of digital medium such as tablets, video games, and television, entertainment has become more passive than active. I remember in my childhood days in Trivandrum, during vacations we used to play from morning till evening- it will begin with Cricket, then some rest, lunch, followed by tree climbing and evening shuttle badminton and the day mostly ends with a walk to the nearby park where children’s films were shown.
Even on working days, we used to stay for an hour in school and play games. Or if we come home, we had the friendly neighbors waiting to play a game of football or shuttle badminton or kho-kho. I learnt how to ride a big cycle at the age of eight or nine all by myself. Most often there will be elder sisters and brothers in the neighborhood who knew how to make toys such as whistle, snake, play ball, kite using locally available materials like paper, coconut leaves, plantain leaves etc.
With more kids now living in flats, housing colonies where houses are packed together and emphasis on studies have alienated them from playing, group activities. This shows in their aggressive behavior, lack of communication skills, social skills, unhealthy food habits and undesirable traits such as overweight or obesity.
The damage caused by TV
Numerous studies have indicated the damage caused by excessive TV viewing. TV is a passive medium and kids have no opportunity to talk back or respond to a cartoon programme or a serial. The violence shown on TV has been found to promote aggression and also ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Parental effort to wean them away from TV may not always work unless they are inculcated reading habits will they are tiny tots. Excessive TV viewing can harm academic performance, cognitive development, intelligence and personality.
Parents try out different methods to engage children during off-study hours- it could be music, drawing, dancing. They have their distinct advantages in stimulating various creative centres of the brain, boosts imagination and creativity. However, not all kids will be interested in learning music or have aptitude for drawing. However, a majority of kids will benefit from intense physical activity – it encourages team play, co-ordination, dexterity, imagination, cognitive, physical and emotional strength. Running, jumping, playing football, cricket, playing hide and seek, skipping, involving in fun games, chasing and capturing were all part of a daily routine for kids of yesteryears.
Zumba Kids- play, learn, dance, enjoy music and stay happy!
With declining play area, more emphasis on learning and grades, distraction caused by electronic and digital devices, parents are on the lookout for creative and physical activities to engage children during weekends and summer vacations. For them, Kids Zumba (Ages 4-6) and Kids Zumba Junior (Ages 7-11) may have come as a God sent gift through Beto Perez and his team of fitness experts at Zumba Inc.
It consists of one hour of dance, fun, games, music, themed activities, goal and breaks. The objective of Zumba Kids programs are not just to dance or involve them in physical activity. But they are creatively designed sessions that aids physical, motor skills development, cognitive skills, memory and retention, health, reasoning, team building and leadership qualities.
Kids Zumba programmes are provided by Zumba instructors who have completed basic training followed by specialization in Zumba Kids program. Since the requirements of each age are different, kids have been grouped into Jr kids (Age 4-6) and Kids (7-11). The programs have been designed taking into consideration the attention span, comprehension ability of kids and getting their involvement in each segment of the session. The Kids Zumba instructors are also well-versed in child psychology and behavior and follow a well planned set of dance, fun, games and other delights in the one hour session with flexibility depending on the nature of children in each class.
Advantages of Kids Zumba:
1) Scientifically, creatively designed methodology for fun, activities, physical and emotional development of a child
2) It helps wean your child from TV, mobile gadgets, video games and electronic devices.
3) It helps prevent loneliness, idleness and encourage team activity
4) Give obvious health benefits – better heart rate, muscles, faster movement, agility, alertness, memory power and cognitive skills.
5) It will help them enjoy life with fun and building friendships,
6) Develop curiosity to know things around them and improve academic performance.
( Written by Sreekumar Raghavan with inputs from Prasanth Sasidharan (Zumba Trainer and Certified Kids Zumba instructor at Beats‘n’Steps ).