Gifts to get kids off the couch | Georgetown Times

Gifts to get kids off the couch | Georgetown Times

Appliances can be hard to ignore. Devices like tablets and smartphones are as popular as ever. In a survey designed to measure smartphone ownership, the Pew Research Center found that 85 percent of Americans will own a smartphone in 2021. This marks a significant increase since 2011, when 35 percent of Americans owned a smartphone.

Adults may recognize the potential disadvantages of spending too much time on their devices, but these disadvantages are not nearly as obvious to children.

For example, a 2021 study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry found that excessive use of smartphones is associated with a variety of 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 had a 62 percent higher risk of developing binge-eating disorder for each additional hour spent on social media.

Parents know that getting a child to put down their devices is no small task. However, the holiday season may 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 is surfing, boating or music lessons, various courses do not require equipment or are even allowed to use them during sessions. Parents and loved ones of children may be looking for lessons that inspire youth to pursue a new passion that promotes physical activity and encourages kids to get up and go.

Trampoline: Auntie and uncle must clear it up with mommy and daddy before buying it. However, no child can resist a good trampoline, including tweens and newly minted teens. Modern trampolines are much safer than the models of yesterday, especially when buyers choose those with enclosures that keep children from falling off the trampoline and onto the hard ground below.

Sports Equipment: Organized sports give lessons about sportsmanship, hard work, overcoming adversity and the value of working as a team, while promoting physical activity. Young children who haven’t yet participated in organized sports may be forced 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 aren’t into sports or who just need a break from competition. Kites can help young children develop their gross motor skills and instill in them a love for 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.

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