Amid the second wave of COVID-19, we are spending more time at our homes in order to limit the spread of coronavirus. More screen time, relaxed schedules, changes in eating patterns, and no physical activities can fuel up weight gain and reduced fitness. No doubt, with virtual learning at home, kids are snacking more and moving less. Such an environment can in-turn cause restlessness, anxiety, or fear in kids. For keeping them positive, happy, and healthy during this pandemic, parents need to put an extra effort while considering the aspects of lockdown: Safe at home and staying healthy.
Increased Health Risk
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused obesity issues among children. Children with obesity can be prone to liver problems or diabetes or other health issues. These health issues can adversely impact the immune system and overall health of the children and may make them prone to being infected. Several parents are struggling to implement specific changes in their routine to ensure their children eat healthy foods, stay active, sleep on time, and above all stay safe.
Four Pillars of Managing Your Child Health
Parents are worried about how to manage their kid's mental and physical health during this pandemic. With children running and playing around the house, you need to make sure of a safe and healthy environment at home. Our therapists and experts have suggested four major pillars that parents can consider to manage their kid's health. Let's explore what they have to say about it:
Healthy Eating: Eating well can help your children cope up with stress while preventing them from diseases like obesity. Parents should support healthy eating habits by following these guidelines:
- Prepare a variety of healthy foods and provide regular meals.
- Ensure enough water intake (2 - 3 liters minimum) every day.
- Ensure your kid's meal includes healthy fats, fresh, and unprocessed snacks in their daily diet such as seeds, nuts, peanuts, homemade popcorns, cakes, wholewheat biscuits, fresh smoothies, etc.
- The meal should include immunity-boosting foods such as spinach, watermelon seeds, pumpkin, etc., in their diet to prevent health risks of COVID-19.
- Try to cook food at home and prepare fresh and nutritious food for your kids.
Regular Physical Activity: Workout is not only indispensable for adults but it also supports the physical and mental growth of your children while making them more creative and productive. Set certain activity times to keep them disciplined and physically fit. If possible Go on a bike ride or take a walk with your kids while taking all necessary precautions. If you are afraid of outdoor breaks, you can also take indoor breaks (dance or stretch breaks). Ask them to help you in your daily chores of the house or help you in activities like gardening, cleaning, etc. It will keep them physically active while allowing you to spend time with your family.
Practice Good Hygiene: Most importantly, maintaining proper hygiene is essential for your children during this COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some parameters for you to make your kids understand basic hygiene practices during this pandemic:
- Make a habit of cleaning hands with water and soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid close contact with other people while going out. Teach them to maintain a proper distance from others to follow safety guidelines.
- Create a supportive and open house environment where children are comfortable to ask questions if they have something in their mind.
- Create a sleep-friendly environment to give them the proper rest they need.
Emotional Health: For children, lockdown can get overwhelming which might lead to frustration, irritation, and anxiety. WHO urges parents to keep a regular check on their kids and ensure they listen to their kid's issues to keep their minds at ease. To maintain mental wellness, ask your kids what they want to do, or participate in their drawing or reading activities. Enjoy their little dance sessions, engage them in daily household chores, or discuss their favorite sports with them. Don't engage your kids in watching too much television. Discuss positive things about every day at the end of the day in order to keep them optimistic.
Managing screen time: Children have been falling into screen traps and seen spending hours on screen during these Covid-19 times. It is understandable that it is probably due to the lock down situation and their inability to step out for outdoor activities but there are other areas that can be focused on.
WHO does not recommend the usage of screen for 1-year old infants and requests parents and guardians to limit it to no more than 1 hour per day for small children (of 2-4 years of age).
Try to have at least one meal together with kids where no screens should be allowed. secondly, ensure that you and your kids do not engage in any screen activity 2 hours before sleeping. And lastly, manage what your children watch by asking interactive questions like- What do you think of this character, what would you say in such a situation, do you wish to be like them?
Back to school planning
Parents, teachers and guardians need to be open to kids and communicate necessary information to children in an easy way. Apart from this, regular parent-teacher-guardian meetings should be conducted to discuss the challenges and progress.
-Preventive behavior should be taught in school. Teachers and guardians should make sure that children understand every bit of it. Parents should contribute by asking their kids what they learnt in class and clarify if anything is stuck in their mind.
-If your kid has any underlying symptom or health condition, continue their studies from home via virtual learning techniques. Request the school authorities if they can provide counselling or social skill training so that your kid doesn’t feel left behind while learning from home.
-Provide them necessary safety equipment like hand sanitizer, two pair of disposable gloves, extra masks and teach them how to utilize them properly without wasting them.
If your kid's condition seems more complex to handle, seek help with verified experts and therapists of The Wellness Corner to discuss their health issues. Taking care of children during the pandemic seems difficult but with proper instructions and time management, you will ace it too. Most importantly you should maintain a positive outlook as children tend to look up to their parents for guidance and safety. With love, patience, and a scientific approach you can ensure your child's overall well-being during these difficult times. If required you can book an RT-PCR test @ home or find the vaccine slot near you with The Wellness Corner and save yourself from the hassle of going out.