Keeping yourself and your family healthy is as important as ever in these uncertain times. But as we spend more time working and learning from home, it’s easy to fall out of our everyday routines. This has led to that can affect our physical and emotional health. While adults can find different ways to cope with these changes, it may be a little more difficult for children, who may feel signs of stress but aren’t sure how to manage their feelings.
While the pandemic continues to impact worldwide significantly, it’s up to parents to make their children feel safe, teach their children how to protect themselves, help them keep healthy routines, and learn to manage their emotions in stressful times like these. If you’re a parent. If you’re unsure how to proceed, here are a few helpful tips to keep your children physically and emotionally safe during the pandemic.
Develop and Maintain Good Hygiene Habits
One of the most important things children need to be aware of, especially during a global health crisis, is proper hygiene. It is an important life lesson, not just during the pandemic but even after it. Parents can teach their kids these habits, but it’s also important to lead by example and maintain these habits themselves.
Proper Hand Washing
The best way for children to learn something is by making a lesson fun. Ensure that your children know when to wash their hands (after visiting a public place, before and after eating, etc.) and how to wash their hands by making a song or game. For instance, allow them to time handwashing by singing the Happy Birthday song twice.
Early on, teaching children the importance of oral care will save them multiple dental trips and ensure they have a fresh and strong set of teeth that will last them most of their lives. However, if your child feels any pain or discomfort, it’s important to have a check on it immediately to prevent it from worsening.
Keeping Hands Away from Face
Avoiding touching one’s eyes, nose, ears, and mouth is vital in preventing the contraction or spread of COVID-19. Let your child know that doing so can make them sick and make it challenging not to touch their faces until they’ve washed their hands properly.
Covering Coughs and Sneezes
Children need to cover their mouths and noses outside or at home after a cough or sneeze. When going out, bring a pack of tissues, and ensure your child washes their hands afterward.
Practice a Healthier Lifestyle
Since many households spend more time at home, we’re also likely to spend more time sitting or lying down for hours. A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk ofand can also take a toll on one’s mental well-being.
Keep a Routine
A lack of structure in our daily lives can lead to stress and anxiety, especially for children. Routines bring comfort, consistency, and normalcy to a child’s life. They are also a source of that can benefit them later in life, like time management, setting expectations, confidence, independence, and more. Make sure to have a daily routine that the whole family can follow — this will be good for your child and the rest of the family.
A balanced diet is as important as ever because good food makes you feel good. Children need as many nutrients as they can get, especially because they’re still growing, so their meals must consist of four categories: fruits, vegetables, healthy protein, and healthy carbs. It’s also important to monitor their snacking habits and replace bad food like potato chips with healthier alternatives like fruits and vegetables.
Children need at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity daily. Whether it’s playing a sport, going for a (supervised) walk, or simply running around the house, as long as they’re moving around, they’ll get the exercise they need to stay healthy.
Don’t forget to check-in.
While keeping your child physically healthy is important, you also need to understand their emotional needs by asking them how they’re feeling and allowing them to process these emotions through conversations and activities that can serve as an outlet to relax and cope with the stresses that come with needing to stay home all the time.
In times like these, it’s difficult not to feel sad or anxious about what’s ahead, but it’s important to remain optimistic for you and your child. Also, while ensuring your child is healthy, don’t forget to think about your health. Remember to take a break whenever you need to and freely explore what works and doesn’t work for you. Let this time serve as a way to bond with your child as you take the opportunity to go through this experience together.