Dr. Antoine Al-Chartouni
Some kids suffer from low dynamism, and are content with eating, drinking and watching TV all day without having to do anything else. During the weekend, they don’t get out of bed before noon, and when parents suggest any activity, it’s always the same answer: “I don’t want to do anything. I just want to stay lying down and watch TV!” So what is kids’ inactivity? What are its causes? And how can parents deal with their inactive child?
Children differ from one to another: Some are hyper active, while others are inactive. Feeling lazy from time to time is normal, but when a child becomes permanently inactive, we must find what causes this feeling. Signs of mental inactivity differ from lack of movement, slow intellectual thinking, inability to focus, excessive sleep, nonchalance… up to social isolation.
Inactivity and its forms
Clinical psychology explains kids’ inactivity as a natural reflection of his environment. Kids aren’t born inactive, but they become inactive due to experiences, or to their environment.
There are many types of inactivity, among them are:
– Psychological inactivity, characterized by nonchalance. This inactivity results from routine and repetitive activities.
– Clinical inactivity in some organs in the body, where we witness a deficiency in a certain organ of the body, which leads to general inactivity, as well as problems in head neurons and glands in the body, affecting the surfacing of inactivity.
– Inactivity due to climatic factors, such as hot weather for example.
Causes of inactivity
There are countless causes that affect the surfacing of inactivity, and they can be limited to the following
First, parents who don’t encourage their children to do any effort or movement, and leave them sitting all day, doing nothing but watching TV and playing with electronics, hurt their health and their intellectual.
Second, many studies have confirmed that at a certain age (between 8 and 12), kids don’t like to exercise, so this age is characterized with inactivity and nonchalance. The educators’ role here is to extend physical activity hours at school and diversify the activities.
Third, the parents’ image is very important for the kid who usually imitates others. So if one of the parents is inactive and doesn’t move a lot, the kid will be the same. Therefore, the parents should be a role model for their child.
Fourth, the sister’s or the brother’s role. If they spend most of their time watching shows on TV, playing video games, talking on the phone and such, the kid will imitate his sister’s or brother’s behavior. With time, this behavior becomes an integral asset of the kid.
What is the cure for kids’ inactivity?
When parents notice that their child is inactive, they must first of all rule out pathological reasons, so that they could make sure that their kid does not have any physiological issue affecting his daily activities. The kid should be examined periodically, and the doctor should be consulted, to make sure that the child is free of all organic or psychological illnesses affecting his activity. After making sure that the child is physically healthy, the parents may follow some of these recommendations:
1- Organize the child’s time, help him manage his duties, and set his priorities. This means explaining to him his duties. Then, the parents should help him accomplish his chores according to schedule.
2- Exercise, because daily and regular physical exercise makes the body more fit, and helps prevent inactivity.
3- Not describe the child with words or expressions because of his blunt behavior, but make him participate in all the daily activities, including the simple ones (such as making his bed, even if it wasn’t perfectly done).
4- Point out to the child the benefits that resulted from applying the priorities, and reward him for accomplishing them correctly. Also, the parents should encourage the child’s sense of responsibility through asking for his help regularly, and according to his physical and mental abilities.
5- Talk to the child about activities that interest him and in which he can participate. In this context, the father can encourage his son to choose an activity that they can practice together.
6- Having a meal together, talking about today’s show, and determining the daily duties and chores of every family member, helps the child stay away from inactivity and enhances the sense of responsibility of the inactive child.
7- Discuss with the child the time it took him to finish his task, and explain to him the importance of time, because some kids don’t understand well the concept of time.
8- Fix the hours of watching TV, using the internet or playing video games, because they might cause physical inactivity and mental laziness.
9- It is also important to set some rules and boundaries, and to allow the child to make his own decisions sometimes, and encourage him to do so.