Wellness and mindfulness were significant workplace trends in 2016. In the past companies only thought about health when it came to insurance costs, but as we learn more about how health and productivity go hand in hand companies have started to rollout health and wellness programs that encourage employees to make sustainable health decisions, while participating in activities at work that boosts mood and performance.
Companies aren’t the only ones recognizing the benefits of health and wellness. Educators have long been proponents of physical activity. Having kids, or working with them, makes someone very aware that keeping kids active is vital to their success. Despite that realization, time for physical activity like recess has slowly been pushed out due to increasing demands from national and state school standards expectations.
Information from the CDC shows that 17.4 percent of American children (6-11) are obese, which frequently contributes to lifelong weight struggles if not resolved quickly. Lack of physical activity also contributes to efforts in the classroom, and many teachers experience behavior issues in the classroom resulting from kids not being able to exercise throughout the day.
Startups are Encouraging Physical Activity
The good news is a number of startups, and small businesses are working with educators and parents to help kids stay active and make healthier choices. Scott McQuigg, CEO and founder of GoNoodle, a company that uses videos and music to gamify activity for kids, explains, “Providing content that is both fun and education focused is one of the best ways to bring physical movement back to the classroom.”
Making Movement Fun
Another challenge facing kids health and wellness is the increasing dominance of screens. Kids love to play, but today kids want to spend as much time as they can playing on any one of the countless screen based games they have access to. This game time often replaces physical activity, and while engaging, does not help kids work off excess energy or take the right steps toward being healthy. Companies like GoNoodle are finding ways to leverage screens in the effort to keep kids moving. McQuigg shares, “The key is leveraging kid’s preference for screens to help them get moving. In doing so, we can keep them visually engaged, but also involved in short and impactful periods of movement.”
Augmented Reality Changing Social Dynamics
Recent developments in augmented reality have also begun to evolve the way kids interact with digital content. Previously, playing a game often meant the player was focused on nothing other than the game. This could lead to a drop in social engagement. Augmented reality experiences like PokemonGo have turned this problem on its head. Instead of making kids antisocial, PokemonGo made kids (and adults) go outside and interact with other people who were also playing the game. This space is sure to develop further and increase the number of games that generate social engagement.
Apps For Focus, Not Distraction
Creating apps that turn screen time into wellness time is one of the many other ways that small businesses can contribute to kids’ well-being. Children’s days are often filled with a lot of pressures and distractions, so it is important to give them time to put everything into perspective to prevent any undue stress. More and more apps are figuring out how to make kids mindful in a way that is fun and engaging. McQuigg shares, “We’ve integrated mindfulness exercises into some of our videos to help parents and educators give kids a moment to pause and reflect on the day. The goal is to help kids face the challenges with calm and confidence.”
For parents and educators trying to find solutions to get kids moving there are a growing number of solutions on the market. For small businesses trying to find ways to support health and wellness for kids, the key is to consider making the solution easy to use and cost effective for the audience.
Swings Photo via Shutterstock
I guess we have now reached the point where we are harnessing technology for the good of mankind. It seems that the trend is beneficial for most of us.