Digital Fitness: How To Engage Your Kids (Even Online)

happy kid playing basketball online

Quarantine has changed everything for everyone—but especially for children. With the shift to virtual learning, many kids are struggling to keep up healthy habits, engage in sports, or find productive ways to engage with their screens. Although there are options for digital fitness, many families don’t know what that really means or where to start.

As a PE Teacher, I’m so excited about ways that children (of all ages) can connect with fitness and exercise despite quarantine. One of my favorite apps is HomeCourt, a live-action sports app that combines exercise and technology with a mission to keep kids active through the sports they love (think basketball, soccer, football).

The app has fun drills that enhance skills using gameplay elements, leaderboards, and more to engage kids, their friends, teammates, and even parents.

Here are the benefits of physical fitness and why it’s so important (especially now) to encourage these healthy habits for kids:

Physical Activity Helps With Overall Development

Fitness, in all of its forms, is an extremely important part of child development. When we are put in unimaginable or unforeseen circumstances such as those we are facing now, it is important to have and utilize these tools and outlets when we can, in order to keep our children or students active.

The HomeCourt app helps children engage with fitness in the way they know how — through the sports they love to play — which in turn has a huge impact on their overall development, both mental and physical.

Friendly Competition Helps Kids With Mental Wellness

Not being able to participate in regular team sports right now is definitely taking its toll on competitive young athletes out there. Taking away the physical interaction aspect that all student-athletes know and love, can also take tolls on their mental state.

What I personally like is the way digital fitness allows individuals to not only perform, track progress and push themselves but to also compete virtually with people all over the world. It’s tools like these that are still giving these students the opportunity to participate and engage with one another during unfortunate circumstances.

Social Connections—Even Virtual Ones—Help Kids Thrive

Going outside and throwing a ball or working out with your kids is still very much interactive and I support that. However, when your kids are going out for walks or shooting hoops in the driveway alone day after day, it can have a negative toll on their mental health.

Social-emotional wellbeing is a big part of their growing minds. What I would say to any parent is that as much as you can play a one on one sport with your child, do so! And in our highly digital world, recognize that virtual connections still have power! Competing and watching others of their own age is exciting and motivating. Even though this is a digital fitness app, there is definitely still value. 

My goal is to make all of my students fall in love with fitness. Here’s a quick story about one of my students: There are many young children who walk into gym class nervous or intimated. And it’s our job to make them feel comfortable and to motivate them. With HomeCourt, I watched as one of these very shy students found motivation every day—she started to push herself harder and achieve goals. And I finally got that ‘aha moment‘ with technology—it isn’t all that bad. Although she was in her own home recording her fitness challenges, and she knew that the teacher wouldn’t be sharing those videos with the class, she made strides and achieved fitness goals. It could be that first step she needed before stepping into a gym full of others.

To read more tips about fitness, exercise, and fighting back against isolation, click here.

Featured Image Credit: TONL

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Laura Nicholson is a Health and Physical Education Teacher residing and working just outside of Toronto, Canada. Laura’s passion for working with youth and aiding in the process of bettering their mental and physical well being is unprecedented. She previously worked in the mental health field with at-risk youth, where she soon after realized that the link between their mental and physical health went hand in hand. Laura wanted to work in an environment where guidance could be provided for both, and most importantly, make said link stand out.