From Screen to Exercise with the Gifted Child

Gifted. It’s a controversial word among parenting groups.

(If you want to see if your child has gifted qualities click here.)

Gifted children are thought to :

  • be highly sensitive to sound, touch, taste
  • be intellectually advanced compared to peers, but socially behind
  • have excellent verbal skills, but often times peers cannot understand their humor
  • read at an early age and often
  • sometimes have slower fine/ gross motor skills than kids their age
  • experience intense emotions
  • love knowing the “why” behind everything
photo courtesy of themalaysiantimes.com

Exercise. It’s also a controversial word –  among many gifted families.

However, we all know the basic benefits of exercise:

1)  Increased blood and oxygen flow to the brain

(2)  Increased levels of norepinephrine and endorphins resulting in a reduction of stress and an improvement of mood

(3)  Increased growth factors that help to create new nerve cells and support synaptic plasticity

Exercise decreases depression in children too! If your child is stressed from the emotional pressures at school, its time to unwind outside. However, when they are in that heightened state close to meltdown… they likely want to check out with screen time.  If it’s at the end of a long day, your need to cook dinner and deal with the other children in the house may prevent you from enforcing what you know would be best for them in that moment.

When given the choice, will a gifted child choose technology or exercise?

Most people will choose technology. Gifted or not. Adult or child.  We love our screens!

In a study of 1500 children aged 6 to 15 years, 79% choose to watch television in their spare time.  Only 34% participated in sport or activity. Would you like to change that statistic? We would!

Would it help… if the technology actually helped you get your stressed-out kids outside?

We think so.

What if they didn’t have to choose between technology and exercise? 

The next step for this generation is to make outdoor play more enticing and even enhanced. The possibilities out there are growing with Google Glass and Bluetooth trackers.

Sticknfind

Certainly, there is nothing like experiencing nature unplugged. 

Founder Steve’s son, the original GenZPlay Kid.

Get Creative.

What if you create an enticing TRANSITION from SCREEN to PLAY? Take it outside!

We think that makes good parenting sense!

When you tell your kids “Turn it off” and “Go outside”… they will likely respond in horror as though you were asking them to quit school and get a job. Or eat garbage. Humor is your best friend here.

You will get a lot more accomplished if the screen becomes a pet. Yes, a pet. Speak of it in the third person:

Johnny! Time to take your screen outside for a walk.

Install and try out the apps before you decide to convince your child it’s going to be fun.

Big Cat Race, Geocaching, ProjectNoah, etc.  Your confidence will help them engage. If you are trying to figure it out while they are frustrated and pouting, it will not be the smooth transition from screen to outdoors you desire.

Once they’re outdoors engaged in an afterschool stressbuster game, they will relax and be ready for homework or whatever else you have in store. If you homeschool your kids, you can use apps to help monitor exercise or play a game of I SPY with Instagram.

Play Together! Join the GenZplay Family

If your kids are dragging their heels when you tell them to play outside, we want to hear from you! Join the #genzplayfamily and #playoutside with us.  Tag your photos and blogs #outsmart and find other families like yours navigating from the screen to the park. It is easier together. Share apps and activity ideas to @genzplay, on Pinterest to genzplaymom, or Facebook.

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Molly (Photo by Bridget Stevens)

Sources

PR Week, “On the Healthcare Agenda – Children choose TV over exercise, ” http://www.prweek.com/article/1069400/healthcare-agenda—children-choose-tv-exercise

Dr. Mercola, “Proven: Kids Get Smart Just from Exercising,” Peak Fitness, http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2012/01/20/physically-active-children-perform-better-academically.aspx

Dr. Gail Gross, “Physically Active Children Perform Better Academically”, Huffington Post, http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2012/01/20/physically-active-children-perform-better-academically.aspx

Images: www.shewrites.wordpress.com, Stephen Calhoun, Bridget Stevens (used with permission)
Drawing Credit: "http://www.sweattearsorthesea.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/phone-leash.png" 
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About steve@genzplay

Based in Sonoma Valley, California, GenZplay was founded in August 2011 by Steve Calhoun to make video games a physically active part of his son’s outdoor life. The company is focused on integrating gaming mechanics with everyday activities, especially those that need a mixture of fun and adventure to motivate and inspire. Follow GenZPlay at facebook.com/genzplay or Twitter @genzplay.

Posted on January 3, 2014, in Education, Health, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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