How to help your kids love sports

Keep young ones fit and healthy with these tips from the experts 

How to help your kids love sports
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Earlier this year, alarming survey results were released, and they revealed that a quarter of kids aged six to 11 years old in the UAE considered playing video games or reading a book to be a form of exercise.

What do we really know about the importance of physical activity? Are we teaching our kids the right approach? We may all know that exercise offers many benefits, but we often forget about the psychological aspect too – particularly resulting from playing team sports, which are said to have a lasting impact on a child’s mental development.

Encouraging our kids to swap gaming for playing – or at least trying to strike a healthy balance between the two – builds essential skills that could help them become more successful in the future. Doing so from a kid’s perspective rather than that of an adult makes a huge difference.

“As adults, it’s difficult to put ourselves in the shoes of today’s children. When I think back to when I was the same age as the kids surveyed, game consoles at home were becoming popular, but my friends and I were happiest when we were kicking around a football or chasing each other in playground games,” says Mohammed A. Baker, deputy chairman and CEO of Gulf Marketing Group, which houses brands and institutions that offer sports products and services for kids, and holds annual sports contests.

“Physical activity wasn’t just limited to a lesson at school, it was a means of entertainment,” he adds.

For Baker, and many parents who attempt, daily, to snatch electronics from their kids’ hands, the internet, gaming consoles and hand-held devices are preventing kids from getting inventive or active to keep themselves amused. The easiest option is often pulling up an app or online game, the latter which is turning into an addiction worldwide.

According to July 2018 figures, at least 125 million people around the world are playing Fortnight, a free, social game which can be accessed from anywhere in the world, and is popular among UAE kids. 

That same month, the Dubai Health and Knowledge and Human Development Authorities signed an agreement that would see students participate in an average of 30 minutes a day every school day.

Why not take on the Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC), taking place until Saturday November 24? The initiative includes the DMCC Park and Kite Beach Fitness Villages with tons of activities for kids, The Color Run on Saturday November 10 and more.

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