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Top 5 Healthy Activities for Families During Social Distancing

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Healthy Habits You and Your Kids Will Carry Forward for a Lifetime

Posted by Temple Health

One of the best ways to help stop the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is to stay at home and only leave for essential needs. But keeping kids cooped up all day can prove challenging — especially if mom or dad is trying to work from home at the same time.

To meet this challenge head-on, try using this period of social distancing, also known as physical distancing, to develop new healthy lifestyle habits that will serve your family long after the pandemic has passed.

Engaging in fun family activities every day can strengthen family bonds, relieve anxiety, and keep everyone sane and civil during this stressful period.

Try these 5 healthy activities to come together as a family:

1. Get outside every day

If possible, go outdoors every day for a walk, family jog or bike ride. You should ensure physical distancing if other people are around — maintain at least 6 feet between your family and other families.

Exercise allows children to burn energy, and its heart health benefits for grown-ups can’t be beat.

Bonus: Some research links exposure to sunshine with a boost in serotonin levels — the “feel good” hormone in the brain. So maybe the simple act of getting into the sunlight can improve everyone’s mood while you’re living in close quarters.

2. Play and exercise indoors

When going outside isn’t possible due to the weather or social distancing requirements, schedule several play times throughout the day. Athletic activities like hula-hooping, jumping rope, and shooting baskets with soft foam balls provide fun entertainment while also elevating your heart rate.

You can also teach your kids more adult exercises, like yoga or bodyweight workouts. Role modeling fitness for your kids will create a healthy mindset they’ll carry forward into adulthood.

3. Plan and cook healthy recipes together

Get your children involved in meal planning by sitting down every couple of days to plan the next day’s menu. Browse recipes at websites like the American Heart Association or the government’s ChooseMyPlate site. When everyone agrees on a meal, work together in the kitchen to cook it.

Children can perform age-appropriate tasks like measuring ingredients or peeling potatoes. Cooking not only provides a fun family activity but also equips your kids with skills they need to make healthy food choices throughout their lives.

4. Spring clean your home

If you must be confined indoors, make the time productive by doing a good spring cleaning. Tackle one room or area per day and clean it from top to bottom.

Younger kids can dust and vacuum and sort through their toys and clothes to determine what to keep and what to donate or throw away.

Older children can disinfect high-touch surfaces, scrub baseboards and even touch up paint. By the time the pandemic passes, your home will look like new!

5. Substitute craft projects for screen time

It may be tempting to let kids indulge in lots of screen time so you can work from home, but staring at a smartphone or tablet for hours may not be the healthiest option for them.

Instead, schedule some craft projects that all of you can do together. You can order age-appropriate craft kits that deliver everything you need right to your door. Here are just a few project ideas: painting (finger painting for the little ones), model building, origami and coloring.

If you can’t afford crafting supplies right now, a quick search online will reveal hundreds of websites that offer free instructions for craft projects that use common household supplies, like discarded egg cartons and boxes. By limiting screen time and replacing it with craft projects, you may discover a budding Picasso in your family.

Staying Healthy

Using this time of social distancing to focus on building new healthy family habits can bring you and your children closer. It can also help to create new lifestyle patterns that keep you all healthy moving forward.

Here are some other ways you can stay healthy while social distancing:

And should a health issue arise in your family, don’t hesitate to call your healthcare provider at Temple Health. We’re here to help you — and your children — get healthy and stay healthy today and through the years to come.

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