Children getting their hands muddy and returning home with shabby clothes is fast becoming a thing of the past. The younger generation just does not step out enough.
But experts insist that playing is a crucial part of a child’s holistic health.
“Children should be given an equal opportunity to take part in academics and extra-curricular activities,” said Dr Florence D’Souza, principal of Sherwood High, Bengaluru, in a panel discussion at “The Power of Play for Kids in the Get Set, Grow Children’s Summit 2023,” organized by Happiest Health.
“Parents think twice putting their wards into any form of sports today. It is the passion of the child that needs to be put first,” added D’Souza
Balancing academics and sports
It is important for the schools to provide alternative classes or to cover up classes that are missed by students for participating in extra-curricular activities. Dr D’Souza further said that she has come across children who miss their classes because of the sports activities. “To help the children balance academics and sports, we gave them the opportunity of homeschooling once a week, where we send the notes online. We have teachers who take online classes during weekends.” This gives children a holistic learning experience, she said.
Foot care for children is necessary at play
In India, importance of footwork and safety for legs amongst sportsmen are rarely discussed. “The need for footcare and foot health is critical for children. For instance, school shoes are the most used product in a child’s life as he/she wears it about eight hours a day, five days a week and two hundred plus days in a year,” says Kriti Kanthi, vice-president of Growth, Plaeto.
She stressed that parents need to spend time to purchase a shoe that fits their children well even when they walk, run or jump. “Science tells us that when you walk or run, you put three to five times the body weight on your foot. We believe, shoes are the key enabler of play,” adds Kanthi.
Kanthi says that Plaeto, an expert in footwear designing conducted a recent Foot Morphology study wherein over 1,000 kids in India participated, it was found that foot health is often neglected.
“When compared to western countries, Indians have broader forefeet which is often ignored by parents while buying footwear for their children. Thus, more emphasis should be given to sizing when buying shoes for the child,” she further explained in the discussion.
Treating sports injury is crucial
Speaking about the injuries in play, Dr Mithil Rambhojun, specialist in Orthopedics at Manipal Hospital, Bengaluru said, the patterns of injuries are not different, the causes are.
“Sports and play are entirely different. While sports are target driven, play is for the child to do whatever they want to but without pressure. Sports can involve frequent injuries, which can be avoided while playing,” said Dr Rambhojun.
He stressed on how one needs to take care of elbows, knees, legs while playing a sport as it involves different strenuous moves. Children who fancy trampoline need to have a guide or a mentor along with them, says Dr Rambhojun.
He also mentioned that healthy food is necessary to maintain a bone health. “A healthy balanced diet and sun exposure is important to promote exercises that promote proprioception,” he added.
- A balanced system of education helps to balance between academics and extracurricular activities.
- The need for footcare and foot health is critical in children and needs to be considered.
- It is important to deal with injuries in children. Healthy food is necessary to maintain bone health.