Keeping Your Family Healthy at Home During a Pandemic

As parents, we often think “Life is so busy, I wish we could just stop and enjoy time together.” Then, suddenly our routine daily lives changed and now having the entire family home together is a reality for many families. Of course, the new normal of social distancing and flattening the curve was not what anyone had in mind. To help, we have a few tips to help keep your family healthy and (relatively) happy during the days and weeks ahead.

Try to Focus on Nutrition 

It’s easy to overeat while stuck inside. So, it’s important to try to create balanced meals. While you may not have access to as many fresh fruits and vegetables right now, you can be resourceful with what is available. Switch to frozen fruits and canned vegetables, for example. Buy healthier carbs such as quinoa and brown rice. Also, as tempting as it can be, try not to stock up on unhealthy snacks. Meal prep when you can, and have your children join in. Use fresh ingredients first before switching to frozen and pantry items. Having a plan for what to eat can help lower unhealthy snacking. 

Plan a Schedule – But Be Flexible

For school aged kids who are now home, a schedule will certainly help keep them on track with assigned digital assignments. Schedules also help maintain a bit of control and normalcy. However, you should resist the urge to plan every minute of the day. Your children, and you, will still require time on their own. This is especially true of older teens and tweens. 

Pay Attention to Sleep Schedules

Getting a good night’s sleep is vital to health and well-being. While everyone is indoors, it’s easy to slip into the habit of staying up late and sleeping in. While children may no longer have to get up at the break of dawn to catch a bus, it isn’t good for them to sleep until noon. Try to maintain routine bedtimes to avoid sleep disruptions. This goes for adults as well.

Keep Moving 

All of us need to stay active, especially kids who often are kept busy with sports, recess and other activities at school. If you have a yard, send them outside to play! If you live in an area with other open spaces, such as parks, bike trails, etc., take advantage of them. Go for family walks or bike rides. If you are stuck inside, take advantage of community resources that are offering online classes such as yoga or other workouts. The YMCA of Steuben County has workouts online and helpful information on their Facebook page.

Let Kids Still Be Social

Time with friends is important for all of us, including kids. So, allow them to be social in different ways. Take advantage of social media and video apps to let them catch up with friends and family. Set up FaceTime or Skype visits. This is especially important for teenagers who are usually focused more on friends during this time of their lives. 

Give Yourself a Break

This is not the time to strive for perfection. While the goal is to maintain a healthy routine, don’t get upset if things don’t always go as planned. You can also lean on online services. Everything from zoos to museums are streaming tours. Here’s a list to get started. Screens aren’t always a bad thing – there are lots of good educational choices available. It’s also important for parents and caregivers to get some time alone, too. This might be the perfect time to try meditation. Remember that we’re all doing the best we can in challenging times. So, give yourself, and those around you, a bit of slack.

Reviewed by: Dr. Susan Frayer, Cameron Pediatrics

Dr. Frayer is a double board-certified specialist in pediatrics and emergency medicine with more than 15 years of experience. She is now accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, call Cameron Pediatrics at 260-667-5690.

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