Our children are living at an unprecedented time. In a flash, they're locked up inside their homes and unable to see their friends. They can no longer go to school and need to take classes online instead. These things can be a lot for kids to handle, and they may feel stressed or anxious. Their physical health is a concern as well. They may gain excess weight due to the lack of physical movement and opportunities to go outdoors.
As parents, we need to do what we can protect our kids' health. Here are just a few strategies you can implement to do that:
Structure Their Day
When kids are always at home, they tend to lose their sense of time. They might feel like they've only been on their phones for an hour, but they've actually spent their entire day with their eyes locked on their screens. You can change this by creating a clear structure or schedule for each day and implement it consistently. This schedule should include activities that promote both mental and physical health.
For example, on weekdays, your kids will have online classes for most of the day, which might drain their energy. Thus, you can add free play after their classes to their daily routine. This will give them time to cool down and relax so that they don't feel too stressed with schooling.
You also need to include exercise in their daily routine. Kids are at an increased risk of obesity during the pandemic, so you need to promote an active lifestyle as much as possible. If kids are busy with school, their physical exercise can be as simple as stretching for 10 to 20 minutes every morning, as soon as they wake up. Since they have more free time during the weekend, you can turn things up a notch and add aerobic exercises to their daily activity. Lastly, set their bedtime to ensure that they get adequate rest and sleep.
Implement Necessary Restrictions
There are some things you need to restrict to keep your children healthy. The first one on the list is junk food. Your kids may be missing fast food after being stuck at home for several months. And it's okay to satisfy their cravings once in a while. But you need to ensure that they don't eat it often. For example, perhaps you can order fast food on a special occasion. But on regular days, giving them homemade food is still the best way to give your kids proper nourishment.
You also need to take extra measures to protect your children online. During the pandemic, kids face bigger online risks since they will be spending most of their time on the internet, whether for school or entertainment purposes. To protect your kids, you need to monitor and regulate your kids' internet usage. You can do this by installing parental control software in your children's gadgets. You can also limit their screen time each day.
Do Recreational Activities Together
Recreational activities are also important to improve your kids' overall well-being. These activities can help them unwind and relieve stress. For example, you can play classic games like Monopoly, Life, or Jenga.
If you want to challenge your kids intellectually, you can conduct trivia nights. For example, you could ask trivia questions about their favorite shows and movies, which will demonstrate that you pay attention to the things they like. You can also ask questions about relevant social topics, such as how commercial solar panels can save the environment or why social justice is important. If they find these topics boring, you can include prizes in your trivia games to keep your children engaged.
Recreational activities serve as bonding opportunities as well. Doing things together will strengthen your relationship with your kids.
Be Open to Conversations
Your kids may be curious about the current situation and ask a lot of questions. And if they do, make sure that you give them answers that they can easily understand, instead of avoiding the questions.
Also, do regular check-ins with your kids. They may not always be emotionally open and even pretend they're okay because they're too shy to ask or talk to you. Thus, you should initiate conversations with your kids. You can start by asking them about their day. After that, check if they have any questions about school or other things. Even just letting them know that you're willing to listen to them can be very comforting.
The current situation we're in is hard for everyone, even our children. Implementing strategies that promote holistic wellness is crucial to ensure that our kids stay healthy, mentally and physically.