The pandemic has become longer than many of us thought. It has also cut kids off from friends, nutritious school meals, sports and routines. With virtual learning and few activities outside the home, it’s no surprise kids are moving less and snacking more.
If your family has been eating more processed, high-calorie food and spends a lot of time on screens, you are not alone. Here are some tips on how you can keep your child healthy, both mentally and physically, during this pandemic.
Address children's fearsChildren rely on their parents for safety, both physical and emotional. Reassure your children that you are there for them and that your family will get through this together.
- Answer questions about the pandemic simply & honestly. Talk with children about any frightening news they hear. It is OK to say people are getting sick, but remind them that following safety steps like hand washing , wearing cloth face coverings, and staying home more will help your family stay healthy.
- Recognize your child's feelings. Calmly say, for example, “I can see that you are upset because you can't have a sleepover with your friends right now." Guiding questions can help older children and teens work through issues. (“I know it is disappointing not to be able to do some of the things you did before the pandemic. What are some other ways you can have fun with your friends?")
- Keep in touch with loved ones. Children may also worry about a grandparent who is living alone or a relative or friend with an increased risk of getting COVID-19. When safe, physically distanced visits aren't possible, video chats can help ease their anxiety.
Keep healthy routines
During the pandemic, it is more important than ever to maintain bedtime and other routines. They create a sense of order to the day that offers reassurance in a very uncertain time. All children, including teens, benefit from routines that are predictable yet flexible enough to meet individual needs.
- Structure the day. With the usual routines thrown off, establish new daily schedules. Break up schoolwork when possible. Older children and teens can help with schedules, but they should follow a general order, such as:
- wake-up routines, getting dressed, breakfast and some active play in the morning, followed by quiet play and snack to transition into schoolwork.
- lunch, chores, exercise, some online social time with friends, and then homework in the afternoon.
- family time & reading before bed.
Keeping your kids outdoors whenever you can helps them to get the sunshine that they need. Roaming around also keeps their mood positive as we ride this out together.
Check out Gravity Main's Discovery and Exploration Section for items that inspires kids to go outdoors and stay healthy!