June 18, 2024

South West News

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Ahead of children’s activities week expert shares  5 benefits of kids being active & ditching devices

The benefits children can derive by getting off their devices and being active have been outlined by a leading research psychologist.

Dr Gummer, who specialises in child development, said activities can help boost mental and physical wellbeing, aid sleep and improve young people’s social skills.

Her comments come ahead of National Children’s Activities Week which runs from the 13th to the 19th May. This year’s series of events are being backed by X Factor winner and former mum of the year, Sam Bailey.

Thousands will be taking part in the UK’s largest annual celebration of children’s activities hosted by What’s On 4 Kids and the event is now in its fifth year.

Explaining its significance, Sam Willoughby, Chief Executive of What’s On 4 Kids and Founder of Children’s Activities Week, said: “Getting our children active again should be a major point of focus for parents, carers, and our society as a whole.

“Children’s Activities Week highlights the extraordinary mental and physical benefits of activities, classes and clubs for children and their families, as well as championing the passion and creativity of the activity providers themselves.

“It’s an extraordinary effort to create and offer activities that inspire and engage children in the right ways, and this week celebrates exactly that”.

As well as contributing to the wellbeing of children across the nation, Children’s Activities Week is playing a much bigger role in fostering impactful change.

“CAW supports the incredible work of Caudwell Children, dedicated to increasing equal access to opportunities for disabled and autistic children”, continued Ms Willoughby.

“All funds raised from Children’s Activities Week will be donated to the charity, which provides a range of services including autism assessments, powered wheelchairs, sensory equipment, employment mentoring and much more.

“We are proud to be supporting Caudwell’s vital mission, all while nurturing key skills and development opportunities for children”.

To find out more or to get involved, please visit: www.childrensactivitiesweek.co.uk

 

Here Dr Gummer outlines the five main benefits:

 

  1. Physical Health Benefits:
  • Regular physical activity is vital for young people’s overall health and development. Engaging in activities such as sports, outdoor play, and exercise helps to strengthen muscles and bones, improve cardiovascular health, and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Being active also reduces the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic health conditions that are increasingly affecting young people today. By prioritising physical activity young children can lay the foundation for a lifetime of good health.
  1. Mental Wellbeing Enhancement:
  • Disconnecting from digital devices and spending time outdoors or engaging in physical activities can significantly boost mental wellbeing.
  • Outdoor activities, in particular, provide exposure to natural light and fresh air, which have been shown to elevate mood and reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • Physical activity stimulates the release of endorphins, often referred to as “feel-good” hormones, promoting feelings of happiness and relaxation. This natural mood enhancement is crucial for young people’s overall mental health.
  1. Social Interaction and Communication Skills
  • Being active and off devices encourages young people to interact with others in real-life settings, fostering essential social skills and building strong relationships.
  • Activities such as team sports or group outdoor adventures promote teamwork, cooperation, and communication, which are invaluable skills for personal and professional success later in life.
  • Face-to-face interactions also help young individuals develop empathy, emotional intelligence, and the ability to navigate social situations confidently.
  1. Creativity and Imagination
  • Limiting screen time and engaging in active play allows young people’s imaginations to flourish and creativity to thrive.
  • Outdoor exploration and unstructured play stimulate curiosity and problem-solving skills, as children are encouraged to invent games, explore their surroundings, and make discoveries on their own
  1. Healthy Sleep Patterns
  • Being active during the day and limiting device use in the evening helps regulate the body’s internal clock and promotes better sleep quality.
  • Establishing healthy sleep habits from a young age is crucial for cognitive function, mood regulation, and overall wellbeing, enabling young individuals to feel more rested, alert, and ready to tackle the challenges of each day.