For a lot of parents, their children are home from school or day-care a little earlier than they expected this year. Sudden changes in routine can be stressful, and the fact that it is all happening because of a virus adds an element of trying to stay healthy and safe to the mix.
Since many parents, teachers, and children are unexpectedly at home, it may be helpful to have some tips on keeping healthy and entertained. Some of these ideas are basics that we need to remember more often, and some of them ways to burn energy.
- Wash Your Hands – Properly! Washing our hands is a key way to maintain health. It washes away dirt, bacteria, viruses, and other germs that can keep our immune systems suppressed and get us sick. Times to lather up include before eating, after using the restroom, after shaking a lot of hands, or after sneezing if into your hands. Doctors recommend the following steps:
- Wet your hands
- Get with your soap
- Lather and scrub for 20 seconds
- Rinse for 10 seconds
Help your little ones keep track of the 20 seconds with a song! The ABC song and the Happy Birthday Song (if sung twice) are about 20 seconds. If your child has a favorite pop song, find a verse or chorus that is about that length and have them sing that.
- Eat Fresh Fruits and Vegetables. Getting proper nutrition is important to staying healthy. It keeps our immune systems strong, as well as prevents some conditions and illnesses. While a healthy diet cannot prevent all illnesses, it is a good foundation. Getting fruits and veggies is a key element of a strong diet, which also includes protein from animal products or lentils, healthy carbs like whole grains, and some healthy fats. Fruits and vegetables fill in a lot of the vitamin and mineral gaps. Vitamin C, K, and E are just some of the important nutrients from the plants incorporated into a daily diet.
- Be outside. Sunshine is good for us! It can help with our mental health because it lets us change our location, breathe fresh air, and get more active. Right now may not be a good time to go to the local playground, but it is a good time to play with chalk on the sidewalk, do obstacle courses in the backyard, or do some yoga poses on the porch. Getting out and not staying inside will increase mobility, help the days pass by faster, and make the time at home feel less stifling.
- Take some time to teach your children something new. Find a new subject, or something they would have been learning at school, and take the time to engage them in it. Perhaps they have always wanted to learn about music or math. Maybe they were learning about flowers in science. It will be a good review for the adults, and keep the minds of the children’s interested.
Remember, this time of being at home and self-quarantined will pass. Keep going, stay active, and don’t forget to Stretch-n-Grow!