Are you beginning to suspect that your little angels have more than a touch of the devil in them? Life under shutdown can be challenging for children. As much as you love them, the togetherness could understandably get to be a bit much.
However, there is always opportunity in adversity, and now is the ideal time to instill valuable habits in your children. You already have to homeschool them, after all. Here are seven reasons to add healthy practices to your curriculum and ideas for doing so.
1. You Have More Time With Them
By now, you probably have located some of the best online learning resources, but most lessons only last an hour to 90 minutes at best. With 16 waking hours to fill, that means getting creative. Instilling healthy habits opens the door to cross-curricular learning at its best:
- English/writing: Have your children write a journal entry about how they feel. What do they like most about their bodies? What activities give them joy?
- Math: You can calculate how many calories different family members need each day, or learn to convert a tablespoon in an Australian recipe to U.S. measurements.
- Biology: The sky’s the limit here. What does overeating sugar do to your intestines? Your teeth?
- History: How has the human body and average life expectancy changed with time? What crazy medical practices did people use in the past?
2. You Can Help Stem Childhood Obesity
Tragically, one out of every six children is obese, which can impact their present and future well-being. At school, they might face bullying, which can devastate their self-esteem and mental health. Obese children are likely to remain so as adults, and that puts them at a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
While various factors influence body weight, the best way people have to control it is through a healthy diet and moderate exercise. Take a daily after-dinner walk. Take your kids to the park during quieter times to let them skip and jump freely.
3. You Can Show Them Healthy Foods Taste Delicious
Remember home ec class? You can make it better by helping your littles bake up healthy treats that taste fantastic. You can even get them to eat their vegetables when you hide them in brownies or cookies. Make it a crossover science lesson by discussing phytonutrients — chemicals in veggies that give them colorful hues. They also help human health in ways researchers continue to investigate.
4. Mindfulness Is All the Rage
Everyone seems to be embracing mindfulness for a good reason. It centers you in the here and now and helps you deal with stress and uncertainty. Who can’t use more of that in the middle of a pandemic?
You can introduce this practice in an age-appropriate way with your kids. Teach them how to use their breath to calm themselves by pretending to be Darth Vader. Implement 30-minute quiet times where they can daydream, read or draw to self-soothe. This time can help you save your sanity, too — win-win.
5. All Ages Need to Calm Down and Stretch
Flexibility is a crucial part of fitness, but people often neglect it. Yoga is an incredible practice for people of all ages. It eases the pain of many chronic ailments, and it stretches young muscles and minds. Make it a fun game. Get your kids into boat pose by having them imagine they’re trapped on an island and need to row away, for example.
6. Emotional Regulation Is a Part of Mental Health
Teaching your kids how to become more mindful and self-soothing isn’t fluff to fill quarantine hours. These practices enhance emotional regulation, which plays a crucial role in mental health. When emotions run high, one wrong decision can lead to a downward spiral, but learning how to react appropriately leads to better outcomes. You can’t insulate your children from the horrors of the world perpetually, even during a shutdown, so prepare them to deal with life’s ups and downs.
Kids can pick up on the tension in the air, even if they aren’t worried about job security. Try teaching your little ones the following self-soothing strategies:
- Hug it out: Adults use stress balls, but kids can use them, too. For tiny tots, hugging a favorite stuffed animal can bring comfort.
- Listen to music: Let them put in their earbuds and chill out when meltdowns threaten.
- Color: Adults and kids alike find coloring soothing.
7. It Makes Nap and Bedtime Easier
Hey — it’s okay to feel exhausted and at wits’ end. These are, after all, some mega-challenging times. The best way for you to recharge your batteries and return to playing supermom is to engage in self-care. However, how are you going to find the time with a house full of energetic toddlers from whom you can’t escape?
Tiring your little ones out through exercise makes bed and naptime a breeze. Racing thoughts can keep children awake, too, but mindfulness practices can bring the calm they need to find dreamland.
Use Lockdown to Teach Your Kids Healthy Habits for a Lifetime
There has never been a more ideal time to instill healthy habits in your kids. Teach them how to treat their body and mind while in lockdown, and they will maintain these positive practices for life.