Keeping Kids Emotionally and Physically Healthy During COVID-19

How To Help Children In These Unprecedented Times

keeping-kids-healthyStress and anxiety levels have skyrocketed during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. And it is affecting the whole family.

Homeschooling can be a particular point of stress for parents and children alike. Parents are trying to do it all between teaching, parenting, and working. Kids are feeling overwhelmed, restless, and missing their friends. 

These frustrations cause major struggles during homeschooling as children have a hard time meeting expectations. If you can reduce the amount of stress for your kids, the whole house will feel calmer.

So how can you support your children’s mental health while homeschooling during a pandemic?

Routine

Having structure will do amazing things for your child’s mental health. Keeping a regular and predictable routine will help your child feel more secure and in control. The structure does not need to be rigid - it should be flexible enough that you make changes as needed or tweak anything that’s not working. 

Part of your routine should include regular meal times with healthy meals. Make sure to offer your kids healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which contain vitamins and minerals that can lower stress.

Simple carbohydrates, including processed foods like candy and potato chips, cause blood sugar to spike and crash, leaving your child tired and cranky, so it’s best to avoid them.

Exercise

It’s no secret that exercise reduces stress. And kids have a lot of energy to burn. Ideally, your kids should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. 

The best way to keep your kids active? Go outside. Have a dance party. Practice your animal moves. Take a walk. Anything that gets your kids moving counts as exercise.

During the school day, take brain breaks when focus starts slipping. Listen to a favorite song (or three) and dance, hop, or walk to it. Just get your child moving! 

Sleep

keeping-kids-healthyA tired kid is a cranky kid. To make sure your kids are getting enough sleep every night, try to keep a regular bedtime as part of your routine. Younger kids need about 9 to 12 hours of sleep each night, and teenagers need 8 to 10 hours. 

Sleep is a time for your body to recover from daily activity and stress. It's also a reboot to your immune system. Regular and adequate sleep will not only reduce stress for your kids but also help keep them healthy.

Hygiene

It is extra important right now to teach your children proper hygiene procedures, especially if your child is physically attending school.

The biggest part of that is hand washing. Hands should be washed often for at least 20 seconds each time. For younger kids, you can teach them to sing the ABCs while washing to hit that 20-second mark.

Regular old soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs. It’s not necessary or recommended to use antibacterial soap - it contains harsh chemicals that are unneeded and may actually create tougher, resistant bacteria in the long term. Hand sanitizer can be used, but soap and water is truly the best option.

Calm Environment

When your kids are stressed, you may see changes in them physically and emotionally. And these are keeping-kids-healthyparticularly stressful times.

To keep your kids healthy in mind and body, take the time to create a regular routine that helps them feel calm. Eat meals together. Make sure they get regular sleep and get moving during the day. If you do, everyone in your home will be happier.

For more great tips on keeping your health and sanity during the Covid-19 pandemic, click here.

To your health,

Dr. Laura

The content on heartroothealth.com is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.