Gifts to get kids off the couch

Devices can be hard to ignore. Seemingly always within arm's length, devices such as tablets and smartphones are as popular as ever. In a survey designed to gauge smartphone ownership, the Pew Research Center found that 85 percent of Americans owned a smartphone in 2021. That reflects a significant increase since 2011, when 35 percent of Americans owned a smartphone.

Adults may recognize the potential pitfalls of spending too much time on their devices, but those pitfalls are not nearly as apparent to children. For instance, a 2021 study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry found that excessive smartphone use is associated with various health problems in adolescents and young adults. Such issues include psychiatric, cognitive, emotional, medical, and brain changes. A separate 2021 study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders found that children have a 62 percent greater risk of developing a binge-eating disorder for each additional hour they spend on social media.

Parents know that gettings kid to put down their devices is no small task. However, the holiday season can be the perfect time to find fun gifts for kids that have nothing to do with screens and encourage kids to be more physically active.

· Lessons: Whether it's surfing, boating or music lessons, various courses do not require devices or even allow them to be used during sessions. Parents and loved ones of children can look for lessons that inspire youngsters to pursue a new passion that promotes physical activity and encourages kids to get up and go.

· Trampoline: Aunts and uncles should definitely clear this one with mom and dad before purchasing it. However, no kid, including tweens and newly minted teenagers, can resist a good trampoline. Modern trampolines are safer than yesterday's models, especially when shoppers choose ones with enclosures that prevent kids from falling off the trampoline and onto the hard ground below.

· Sports equipment: Organized sports instill lessons about sportsmanship, hard work, overcoming adversity, and the value of working as a team, all the while promoting physical activity. Young children who haven't yet participated in organized sports may be compelled to do so if a new baseball mitt or basketball hoop is waiting under the tree this holiday season.

· Kites: Kites can be perfect for kids who don't take to sports or those who simply need a break from competition. Kites can help young children develop their gross motor skills and instill in them a love of the great outdoors that lasts a lifetime.

Getting kids to put down their devices is no small task. But parents and loved ones can do their best by giving gifts that encourage kids to get off the couch and be more physically active.


The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313

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