By Keiran Deck - host of the Secret Ninja School

A big step towards helping your child love getting outdoors and moving!

It’s clear that limiting screen time is important. The current guidelines suggest 1-2 hours of quality programming per day for 2-5 year old's. And zero screen time for infants up to 2 years old.

Your child’s well being heavily relies on meeting these guidelines. Children who spend too much time on a screen, according to the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network:

  • Carry a much higher risk of obesity
  • Are more likely to display aggressive behaviour
  • May be influenced by junk food commercials
  • Get less sleep
  • Miss out on opportunities to form healthy relationships

The list goes on.

The screen is addictive, as many of us are well aware. I have definitely struggled with limiting my time in front of the screen in the past. And if your child’s friends are watching a cool show it’s hard to say no. Let alone if you’re in lockdown! So how do you meet them halfway? Or better yet, help them want to get off the screen.

It’s super helpful to know what’s happening chemically in your child’s brain, to better respond to their wants.

Screen time provides a quick dopamine release. Dopamine is like a motivation hormone. If it’s released, it encourages you to do that action again. If we find a way to release it fast, like playing an iPad game, we’ll be less likely to do something that takes longer to release it. Like reading a book. While reading a book, the dopamine is triggered when you reach a curious twist, or climax of the story, which can take hours.

Which is why kids are drawn to the screen. The flashy lights and fast paced stories create quick Dopamine channels. 

The good news is, Dopamine has been linked to movement. So incorporating movement into your child’s screen time can become a happy middle ground.

The Secret Ninja School is the bridge between these worlds. Screen time that encourages movement, helps your child develop fundamental skills without realising it. They can then use these skills in play outside, to connect with friends, and do all the wonderful things we know are good for them.

Imagine this... your child improves their coordination while engaging in an online adventure weekly. Then they go to school and a new friend kicks them a soccer ball. When they can kick it back, they've made a new friend.

And it’s not a long bow to draw, to imagine how those skills can help them participate in more organised sport. Occupational Therapists talk about how critical regular daily movement is for focusing and learning at school.

If you want to learn more about Dopamine and how to change your brain’s habits, check out this great video. 

And if you want to try the Secret Ninja School for your Ninja, join us for a free month using the code SNSTRIAL.