Staying at home is the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. What should we remember to keep our kids healthy when they’re at home?
When staying home, try to maintain a balanced diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetable. Do not panic buy and stockpile frozen food, processed foods or canned foods. Also avoid stocking sugary snacks and ‘junk food’as this may encourage ‘boredom eating’ or stress eating, which result in cravings for carbohydrates and sugary snacks.
Ensure that your children get the recommended age-appropriate hours of sleep, especially in this COVID-19 period. Sleep helps to strengthen the immune system, as cytokines that target infection and inflammation are produced and released during sleep.
Practise good sleep habits to help your child get the rest they need. If your child has insufficient night time sleep, naps can help to make up for it, and reduce the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation on the immune system.
Exercising regularly has many health benefits. Regular exercise not only helps reduce body weight, and the risk of metabolic disease, but has also been shown to improve the immune system, sleep quality and also mental health and mood.
The WHO recommends one hour of exercise a day for children. If the situation permits, children should be encouraged to get sufficient exercise outdoors. If that isn’t possible, try dance or exercise routines, or virtual sports using videos and home game stations. With the home based learning system, it is important to remind children to take vision and stretch breaks from lengthy sessions in front of their computers, tablets and books.
Keep a healthy mind
The current COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted family, school and social life. This may cause children to be stressed anxious or confused. Source for and share simplified age appropriate healthcare messages with them, to help them understand the disease. Encourage them to express their anxiety and talk to parents and teachers if needed. Also encourage them to show support to their neighbours, friends and family. Compassion is good medicine.
Get your vaccinations
Keeping up to date on your child’s vaccination schedule is vital as these vaccines help protect your children from deadly diseases. Though there may not be a COVID-19 vaccine, don’t underestimate the importance of other vaccines, in strengthening your child’s immunity, and lowering the risk of infection when they fall ill.