Every morning at 7:55 am, Nick Jr. airs Mini Movers, a two minute segment, (in the U.K. only) designed to get toddlers out of their seats and active. The program currently involves a Weather Dance entailing moves such as “tickle the sky” and “jump to the sun”. With giant grins plastered on their faces, the kids wave their arms, spin around and sing along. Having watched a clip, I can’t deny that I was at least somewhat inspired to “stomp the snow down low,” and it’s logical to believe that a child may be moved to do the same. However, is this addition to the television lineup one we should truly celebrate?
Kids are already watching too much TV. The screen lights up every morning and evening, rendering even the most hyperactive child zombie-like for at least thirty minutes. An exercise segment will theoretically end the coma but only if the children recognize it as an actual call to move and not another sit-through, musical show. Programs like The Wiggles are filled with songs and dances. Although the children are invited to join in at home, that doesn’t always happen. Most kids just watch. And even if they do participate are the means justifying the ends or are we mistakenly teaching our children to view exercise as a brief interlude in a sedentary lifestyle?
Activity should be a natural part of every day. It should come about in play and daily routine, particularly for younger children. We shouldn’t have to include structured workout programs into the regular television lineup, because kids should already be getting enough exercise. If they aren’t, it is our responsibility, as those raising them, to increase it – not the media’s. Rather than turning to Nick Jr. at 7:55, turn off the TV. Get down on the floor and play with your toddler. Throw a ball, play tag or go to a playground/indoor activity center. Make movement the dominant part of your child’s day instead of the pause between programs.