How to Keep Kids Healthy and Occupied While Social Distancing
If you’re part of the Joy Organics family (or even if you’re visiting us for the first time), we know you care about your family’s health. With stricter social distancing practices being enforced, it can be hard to know how to keep your children healthy. Luckily, there is plenty you can do to keep kids mentally and physically healthy during this period of social distancing.
Social Distancing for Kids
While your children are home from school, their first instinct may be to beg for more playdates. However, according to the Center for Disease Control, it’s important that you limit – and even eliminate – their contact with other children in order to keep healthy.
If you do allow your children to play with the neighbors, the CDC recommends that any gatherings remain small and take place outside, where it is easier to stay six feet apart. Additionally, make sure you wash your children’s clothes as soon as they come home – this will help ensure certain contaminants do not enter your home this way.
Entertaining Your Kids Inside
Saying “no” to playdates can result in major boredom, though. So, what can you do to help keep your kids entertained? If you aren’t too busy working from home, use this time to bond with your kids. Here are some creative ideas about how to do just that:
- Build a blanket fort and watch a movie in your living room.
- Set up a scavenger hunt around your home. Give them their first clue when they wake up in the morning.
- Read to them. This is a great time to binge-read your favorite childhood book series with your children!
- Teach them to cook an easy, healthy meal. You’ll thank yourself later!
- Set up a board or card game tournament using one of these brackets. Get your whole family involved and enjoy hours of competitive fun!
Making Virtual School Successful
Once the dust settles a bit, your children will likely start school again through virtual learning. Suddenly being cast into the role of “teacher” can be daunting for any parent, especially if you are trying to balance it with working from home. Follow these tips to navigate the transition more smoothly.
Keep a Somewhat Consistent Schedule
While doing school at the kitchen table will lend itself to more flexibility than a traditional school day, do what you can to keep your child’s schedule consistent. Enforce firm bedtime and wake-up time routines and encourage your kids to get dressed every day. While it might be fun for them to go to school in their pajamas for a day or two, most experts agree that changing into clothes will help your children focus better.
Some teachers may be teaching lessons through Zoom or Google Meet, which will help keep your child’s schedule consistent. If your teachers aren’t sending work to be completed at the time that works best for you, consider setting up some structure for your child anyway. It can be difficult (and tiring) to completely mimic their days at school, but there are things you can do to maintain a schedule that works for both you and your child. The New York Times recently published some great at-home learning schedule examples to help you do just that.
Supplementing Their Education
If you are looking for more ways to supplement your child’s education while they are home from school, here are some great resources:
- CoolMath.com provides free math games on the computer. Help turn that screen time into something productive!
- Audible.com is offering free audiobooks for kids right now. If you need some time to get your own work done, plug some headphones into your child’s device and set them up with an audiobook – it’s a great way for you both to relax!
- Crash Course offers a variety of educational videos on a lot of different topics. Ask your kid to pick something they don’t already know about and teach you about it afterward!
While avoiding playdates and setting up a consistent schedule will help your kids’ brains and bodies stay healthy during this pandemic, it’s important to address their mental health, too. They may be feeling scared or anxious about the reports they are hearing on the news. The significant disruption in their normal routine may be difficult to cope with as well. Here are some steps you can take to help ease your child’s mind during these unsettling times:
- Help your kids control what they can. If they are older, ask them to help you disinfect high-touch surfaces in the home, like remote controls and door handles. Encourage them to take vitamins in the morning to keep their immune systems boosted. Giving them agency may help them feel better.
- Teach them to journal about their feelings. Helping your kids to name their feelings and work through them on paper will not only benefit them during this scary historical event, but it will teach them to process their emotions better later in life as well.
- Be there for them. This is already an intuitive part of parenting, and we are lucky that so many parents are able to work from home during this outbreak. Give your kid a hug, tell them it will be okay, and maintain a sense of normalcy. Together, we will get through this!
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