One of the many unfortunate results of the pandemic has been the removal of healthy resources and activities from children’s lives. Whether it’s a healthy school lunch program, or the cancellation of a sports season, it is much more difficult for parents to keep their kids moving and eating right. With most schools switching to virtual teaching plans, children are spending more time at home and on screens than before the pandemic. Obesity risks amongst children have increased, which can also increase the risk of a child having more severe complications from a COVID-19 infection.
If you’re worried about your children spending too much time inside and not eating right, you’re not alone! Parents across the country have faced these challenges, and Woodburn Pediatric is here to help. We’ve prepared a list of tips to help parents and their children stay active and eat better.
1: Be a great example
Children tend to follow their parents’ lead. Whether it’s liking the same kind of music or saying a bad word, kids model their likes and behaviors from parents. The same applies to healthy habits. If you’ve found yourself watching too much TV and eating too much junk food, don’t be ashamed. Each person copes with stress differently, and there’s always time to start healthy habits. Help your kids follow your lead by changing your diet, walking more, spending more time outside, and other healthy activities. Once you get started, they’ll follow suit.
2: Make fruits and veggies a staple of every meal
A quick and easy way to improving your children’s eating habits is to follow one simple rule for each meal: incorporate at least one serving of fruits and veggies in every meal and snack. An even better choice is to fill at least half your plate with both. Leafy greens like kale, spinach, and broccoli are great with pretty much everything, while apple or orange slices make a healthy dessert alternative.
3: During the school day, take activity breaks
Being stuck at home can make the days feel like they’re twice as long, especially during weekdays. For both kids and parents, the monotony of school and work from home can take its toll. The good news is a few activity breaks during the day can help make it go by much faster, keep both parents and children active, and interject some much-needed fun! Depending on your comfort level and situation, an activity break can be anything from a quick walk around the block to a trip to the park or a mid-day hike (time permitting). If you don’t feel comfortable leaving home, a quick online or video workout with your kids is a great way to get moving!
4: Cut back on-screen time
This tip applies to parents and kids but spending too much time glued to a screen is something we’ve all indulged in during the pandemic. It can be too easy to shift from the computer screen to the TV or game console once the day is done. While doing this from time to time isn’t necessarily bad, it does become unhealthy once it is a daily habit. For parents looking to help their kids stay active, setting structures around screen time can be more beneficial than removing it entirely. Setting a limit for an hour or two of “extra” screen time can do the trick, with no screens allowed 90 minutes before bedtime.
For more healthy quarantine activities, diet tips, and more, make sure to check out the Woodburn Pediatric blog. We offer a variety of pediatric services including physicals, mental health counseling, and general check-ups. If you would like to schedule an appointment for your child, please contact us today.