Parents, Don’t Use Virtual Activities For A Babysitter

Leon County Families,

As we go into July, there are a lot of uncertainties with the Covoid 19 pandemic. Many physical activities have been cancelled, some remain with social distancing policies in place. However, living in Florida brings many challenges with outside activities regardless of a pandemic or not. Our weather is incredibly hot and humid during the summer and thunder storms are prevalent. That leaves indoor activities, but many are reluctant to participant until Covoid 19 numbers decrease and stabilize.

What is left? Virtual activities? These work for some, not for others. However, there are ways to change that. Don’t use virtual activities for a baby sitter. Think about this situation. You have a 6-7 year old child who is bored. You ask them if they want to watch a movie, they get excited and you start the movie and watch the first 5-10 minutes with them. They are having a blast, laughing so you think they are set and you walk away to do some work or take care of some house responsibilities. 30-40 minutes later you check on them and they are in a different room playing with toys or being mischievous. Do the same thing with a virtual martial arts or dance lesson and you get the same result.

What goes through most people’s head? They don’t like the virtual lessons, it is not the same or doesn’t work for my child. You are correct, they are not the same without interaction. That is what makes them enjoy the live lessons so much. The solution is not dropping the virtual lesson, the solution is do the lesson with them or just hang out while they are training.

Many people in our communities mentioned kids need to go back to school. They need the social interaction and parents need to be able to work. We are not here to debate whether that is the right decision or not, but we do need to follow our own advice. Ever wonder why a child will watch the same movie over and over again as long as they are with their friends or family? It is not because the movie is just that good, it is the social interaction they have while watching the movie. Isn’t that the same reason people get together to watch sports and other special events? Camaraderie!

Here are a few quick tips to making virtual activities work with your child:

  1. Find activities that you can both be present
  2. Make sure the activities aren’t too long. Whether you are doing them together or not, we all know kids attention spans are short. 15-30 minutes are ideal.
  3. Either do the activity with them, or just hang out and give them positive feedback. You see videos on social media of dads doing dance moves with their daughters and they are having a blast. Some of those dads can really move!
  4. Have a schedule or set time when you are going to do the activity and get excited about it when you remind them. Don’t make it sound like a chore or a requirement like homework. “Hey son, remember we are doing our martial arts lesson today at 2, I am going to leave you in the dust with my blinding fast kicks!” instead of, “You have to do your martial arts lesson today at 2.”
  5. Presentation is everything and people feed off each other’s energy.
  6. Don’t overtrain. Too much of a good thing , no longer makes it a good thing. 2-3 times a week is ideal for virtual training and activities is a good general rule.

Follow these guidelines and you will see a big difference in your child’s motivation. Plus, you might get in better shape, loosen up your muscles and learn a new skill too!

If you are interested in contacting Brad Fantle for speaking engagements you may reach him by email at He is a 7th Degree Black Belt with Tiger Rock Martial Arts, has 25 years experience working with children and teaching self-defense, and has a BA in Sports & Fitness from the University of Alabama

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