The New Normal
By now you’re probably settling into this new way of life. Kids are home every day all day, somebody, if not both parents are trying to work from home. I try not to watch the news, but from what I’ve seen off and on, it doesn’t look as if things are going to be back to normal anytime soon.
This morning I woke up, drank my coffee and took the dog for a walk like I’ve been doing every day, this is my solitude. I’ve been pretty positive throughout all of this. I always wanted to home school my kids and I’m definitely a homebody so staying home doesn’t bother me. But today, I have an itch to get out and do something, to go somewhere.
The thing is, this is not what the country wants right now, maybe I’ll drive to a get a coffee or smoothie just to get away and see what the world looks like. My husband’s been doing any of the store runs we need, he’s not a homebody, so he’s having a harder time than the rest of us.
Take This Time to Focus on Our Kids
With nowhere to go, nothing to do, why not focus our energy on our kids and their health in this time. How are they mentally handling all of this? Could they use a little motivation to get physically active? How about their diet? Do they drink enough water? Eat enough fiber? Eat too much sugar?
We have time to help raise their awareness and educate them on the importance of being healthy NOW so they are prepared for future pandemics such as these.
So where do you start? I recommend with their attitude and emotions. If they’re not doing well mentally and emotionally it will affect every part of their life. Talk to them:
- How do they feel about what’s happening in the world? Respond to their fears and concerns with positivity and hope.
- What are they missing right now? Friends? Family? School? Sports? Suggest a Face time/Zoom with friends and family? Play sports with them in the backyard, make a schedule of nightly/daily competitions (I can’t take credit for this idea, my sports loving son came up with it).
- Encourage them to start a journal to express their feelings in words.
- Are your kids getting enough sleep? Too much sleep? Do they seem overall happy or sad? Sleep as you know, can affect kids in all areas of life, mentally, physically, emotionally. Create a routine to enhance their circadian rhythm.
Physical activity for kids is so important. The benefits of exercise are endless. Being active helps them ward off stress, improves moods, builds strong muscles and bones, improves sleep, and just keeps them overall healthier! However, when they’re feeling confused, down and out of routine their activity may not be a priority.
- When was the last time they broke a sweat? Sweating isn’t necessary every day, but kids should be getting good and sweaty from activity every couple of days. It’s an easy natural way to detox their bodies and keep their immune system running efficiently, and it can be fun!
- Are they getting daily exercise? With the down time we’re having, what better to do than explore different activities and find something they enjoy. Ride bikes, jog, play a new sport, or an activity they already enjoy.
Last, but not least, how have they been eating? Not just during quarantine, but for a while now? I feel like this quarantine has given us the perfect time to make some adjustments to their diets, or the whole family’s for that matter. You now have time to cook, time to make healthy substitutions, time to use up those ingredients you bought with good intentions of using a while back.
You have more control over what they’re eating now, so make it nutritious and healthy. Proper nutrition is invaluable, and we are learning this more and more each day. Keep their immune systems running strong with good for them food.
Carbs and Sugar
Carbs are important for energy and most kids don’t have any trouble getting the right amount of carbs. However, limit the added sugar. We all know that sugar isn’t the best for anyone, especially kids, too much of it can weaken their immune system. An easy fix is to just not buy it and it into the house. And if you need a little treat, (which, I think we all need a treat every once in a while), make your own and use a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup. This is one of my favorite sweet treat recipes: Black Bean Bownies.
Have you thought about their fiber intake lately? This is a little harder to track, but with a quick peak at the food labels in the house you can have an idea. Fiber helps them feel full, so less snacking, and helps their digestive tracts work more efficiently. Provide healthy fiber options at each meal to make sure they’re getting enough.
You may be wondering “how much fiber does my kid need?” A simple way to calculate a child’s needs is to take their age and add 5. For example, my 9 year old needs 14 grams of fiber per day.
Best Fiber Foods
- High Fiber Cereals
- Pears with skin
- Potatoes with skin
- Apples with skin
- Sweet Potatoes
Don’t forget the protein. So how much protein does your child need? According to Dr. Sears, kids need one gram of protein per pound of weight in younger, growing children, and half a gram per pound for older kids. Protein is the building blocks of bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments therefore, kids need protein every day!
Good Sources of Protein
- Whole Grains
- Nuts and seeds
- Grilled Chicken
- Dairy products
And finally, how’s their water consumption. A good way to know is by the color of their pee (sorry, but true). If you suspect they’re not drinking enough, remind them and have them keep track of how many glasses they’re drinking a day.
Could they be drinking more? Being well hydrated will help their energy and mood. It also detoxifies the body and helps regulate virtually all internal processes.
How’d They Measure Up?
I know that times are tough right now for so many, but if we can keep in mind that our children our going through this too. Stay positive for them and give them your best self. Stick together as a family and focus on the things you can control, and I believe we’ll all come out of this a with healthier, stronger families!