The ongoing health crisis has thrown everyone into difficult times. The way people work and live has changed completely. Families, for instance, are encouraged to stay home and avoid non-essential travel.
Kids, unfortunately, are also having a tough time. Schools in about 188 countries have shuttered beginning March of this year, affecting more than 90 percent of students from the earliest years through vocational school and college. Many students, especially the little ones, are sad that they can’t see their friends or play in outdoor areas.
During these times of uncertainty, physical health and mental well-being are more important for the young ones. Parents must take steps to help kids stay healthy, feel safe and manage their behavior.
Here are four tips to help your children stay fit and happy through these trying times:
Maintain a Balanced Diet
When considering how and what to feed your little ones, keep a balanced diet in mind. The food that they’re eating should consist of a range of nutrients, such as the following:
- Iron – This mineral helps with the production of red blood cells that transport oxygen in the body. You can find this nutrient in red meat, tuna, eggs, beans and spinach. If you want your little one to reach their recommended daily allowance of this mineral, look for best iron supplement for kids in your local pharmacy.
- Unsaturated Fats – Certain fats are good for your child’s health. Saturated fats, for instance, provide energy and contribute to the development of the nervous system and the brain. This nutrient is present in olive oil, nuts and avocados.
- Vitamin D – This “sunshine vitamin” is necessary for the development of strong and healthy bones. Apart from outdoor exposure to the sun, your little ones can get this nutrient from foods like salmon, egg yolks and mushrooms.
- Vitamin C – This vitamin helps build your child’s immune system and brain development. Some food items rich in this nutrient include kiwi slices, orange juice (with or without the pulp) and broccoli.
- Protein – This nutrient contributes to the formation of muscles and other tissues in the body. You can get protein from foods like nuts, milk, fish and eggs.
Keep Healthy Routines
Maintaining routines is important during the pandemic. They provide reassurance for your little ones and create a sense of order during this chaotic period.
As much as possible, make the routines predictable yet flexible enough to accommodate the individual needs of your little ones. When structuring a typical day, the schedule should follow this general order:
- Morning routine, which consists of getting dressed, eating a healthy and hearty breakfast, some active play, quiet play and transition to schoolwork
- Afternoon routine, which involves taking lunch, spending time with friends online, completing chores and completing assignments
- Evening routine, which typically consists of three B’s: bathing, brushing and bedtime story
Use Positive Discipline
Children may feel worried or anxious during this time. Younger kids may not be able to describe what they’re feeling properly. As a result, they’ll likely act out their frustration and stress with the situation. Older teens, on the other hand, may feel extra irritable, as they’re unable to meet with friends in person, as well as attend concerts and other outdoor events.
As a parent, you need to rein in these negative emotions and manage their behavior and emotions. Here are a few tips you can follow:
- Reinforce positive behaviors, such as being respectful to others, and discourage negative behaviors. When you notice good behavior from your little ones, point it out and praise them for behaving this way.
- Redirect negative behavior by giving your children something else to do. Sometimes, little ones misbehave because they either don’t know any better or have no idea what to do. A couple of activities you could do together with your children include drawing pictures and making a family collage.
- Place your children on time-out if they consistently fail to manage their behavior. Remind your kids of what they did wrong, take them out of the situation and allot a predetermined period for the time-out.
A study from the University of Strathclyde encouraged carers and parents to include physical activity as part of a kid’s day during a lockdown. If you can’t take your child outside, consider taking the exercise indoors. Some fun workouts you and your little ones can do are jump ropes, circle jumps, jumping jacks and standing on one leg.
Keep your child fit and happy during these hard times. As you stay indoors with your kids, take this opportunity to create memories and spend quality time with them.