5 Ideas To Keep Your Kids Active During The Pandemic
Tips to keep your kids active with indoor activities and family games, that also help them stay healthy and keep their immune system strong during the pandemic.
Since the pandemic began all our lives have been turned upside down. What started as a few weeks of being homebound turned into months. Besides the risks of contracting and spreading the corona virus the pandemic has caused, the disruption of daily life as we know it, particularly for families.
This can be a stressful experience especially for kids, because of a multitude of reasons which include changes to routines, being isolated from peers and family, missing out on significant life events and of course lack of physical activity. This can have a cumulative-effects on their health, both mental and physical. This physical and mental stress may hamper the immune function, making them more vulnerable to COVID infection.
After the initial shock of the pandemic wore off, society found a way to cope. For kids, home has now become their school, day care centre and play ground. This poses a new set of problems for us parents, as we try to keep our young ones safe, active and healthy.
But fear not, here are some tips and tricks on how to keep your kids active and resistant to infections:
1. Add Structure And Routine To The Day
With your child's usual routines thrown off, they may lose their bearings. To avoid this, it is necessary to establish new daily schedules.
It is more important than ever to maintain mealtimes, study time, bedtime, and other routines. This can help create a sense of order in the day and can offer certainty in a time where so much is unknown.
Care should be taken so that these routines are predictable, yet flexible enough to meet your child's particular needs. Break up schoolwork when possible and add variety to mundane activity.
Having structure to the day can help reduce your child's stress levels and keep their immune system in top form.
2. Make Time For Physical Activity And Creative Play
Exercise benefits your child's mental and physical health and can aid in the proper functioning of their immune system.
Encouraging children to play can offer them outlets for their creative energies and allow them to participate in physical activities that are appropriate for their age, and are enjoyable.
Indoor physical activities for kids can make them stronger, happier, can engage their minds and reduce stress. Additionally, indoor exercises can increase blood flow, help clear bacteria out of the airways, strengthen the antibodies to help fight infection, thereby, boosting the immune function.
3. Help Them Get Some Fresh Air And Sunlight
It is important to leave the house and get some fresh air whenever possible—while maintaining six feet of distance from other people and following mask guidelines. You can also plan some physical activity and games for children, in the lap of nature.
Sunlight, in addition to being a mood enhancer, also helps the body to synthesize vitamin D. This vitamin is crucial for all body functions, including keeping the immune system well-functioning. Spending time in nature, tends to decrease the stress hormones and also bring down the blood pressure.
4. Involve Children In Chores
Give your child activities to do at home, this can make them feel involved and responsible, best of all, it can help cut down their screen time.
Get your child involved in cooking and meal preparation, so that they feel more in control of what they are eating and can help to encourage healthier food habits.
Make your child responsible for different chores around the house each day, like cleaning, washing the dishes, folding the laundry and gardening activities. This can give them a sense of responsibility, purpose and belonging, while at home.
5. Improve Family Bonding
Having to be isolated from their friends, cousins and loved ones can be very taxing on children. Try to keep open lines of communication between you and your kid. Address their questions and fears as honestly and simply as possible. Help them to keep in touch with family members and their peers through phone calls, video calls, chat or even letters.
Make time for active family games and fun activities for children, like watching movies together, cooking together, doing kid friendly yoga, dancing etc.
These bonding activities can provide your child with a sense of safety, stability and security during these turbulent times of the pandemic and help safe guard their mental health.
Reduced stress can have profound effects on maintenance of a healthy body and mind in children.
Follow these simple guidelines to navigate through these new hardships with more ease. It is important to remember we're all in this together, parents and children alike.
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- Healthy Children: Parenting in a Pandemic: Tips to Keep the Calm at Home
- Harvard Health Publishing: How to boost your immune system
- da Silveira MP, da Silva Fagundes KK, Bizuti MR, Starck É, Rossi RC, de Resende E Silva DT. Physical exercise as a tool to help the immune system against COVID-19: an integrative review of the current literature.Clin Exp Med. 2021;21(1):15-28.