A picture of children playing with a football

Active: Children playing with a football               Picture credit: Shutterstock

The Coronavirus pandemic has tested us all in ways that we hadn’t even fathomed prior to March 2020, but some areas of life have been neglected more than others.

We are told not to leave our houses unless we need essentials, can’t work from home or we are exercising and that’s ok. I believe there is one huge problem though and it is the future health of this country, physically.

With children staying at home and learning through a computer screen it has become increasingly difficult for them to exercise and all the onus has fallen at the feet of the parents.

Yes, I understand that parents should take care of their children’s health anyway but the ability to have Physical Education (PE) lessons and play with other children is one that cannot be ignored. You cannot expect a 10-year-old to go out for a run or a home workout.

The physical side of a child’s education is one that should not be overlooked either. A report from Sport England from the 2019/20 academic year has found that around 55.1% of children did not reach the recommended one hour of exercise a day. That is nearly 4 million children. That is astounding.

Out of that 4 million children, 2.3 million were found to have not even exercised for 30 minutes. Joe Wicks has done an amazing job of trying to get kids to get active and moving, but he cannot do it all. It requires help from parents but also further help from the government to put in place plans that encourage kids to get moving or we risk obesity issues in the future.

As the Coronavirus pandemic has flipped lives upside down and forced people to change their usual routines, it is crucial not to forget the kids.

Children have missed out on learning some of the key non-academic skills that they need to develop at a young age. The ability to learn how to build relationships with others is vital and by staying at home with your parents and siblings, you are not going to advance those skills. I want the government to encourage extra-curricular activities for young children post-lockdown, I think it should be mandatory.

Children are going to be the most affected by this pandemic in the long run and it may not be in the next couple years but five or six years later, it will become apparent.

I would suggest that there is an incentive for schools to run more sport classes after school or as part of the lessons. I understand that some schools have been reluctant to run their PE lessons throughout the pandemic because of the risks of spreading the virus, but now the 21st June light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel has been earmarked, we should return to normality as soon as possible for the children’s sake.

If schools are financially incentivised to add physical activities as an after school club then hopefully children won’t suffer too much, but it has to be added now to ensure as little development is missed out on as possible.