Everyone is feeling a bit restless with stay-at-home recommendations in place in many states, but perhaps no one as much as young children and their parents.Regular physical activity is vital to human health and wellbeing, but it’s especially necessary for growing children. Exercise doesn’t just improve children’s physical health; it also improves their attention span, behavior, and overall mood. Unfortunately, with many families stuck at home and extracurriculars on hold during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, finding time and space for kids to “get the wiggles out” can be difficult — but it’s more important than ever.According to the World Health Organization, children between the ages of five and 17 should get at least 60 minutes of moderate exercise each day, though that hour can be divided into smaller blocks of time throughout the course of the day. Here are some ideas for getting that much-needed exercise time in while still observing social distancing guidelines:
Staying Physically Active Without Leaving the House
Whether your home offers limited access to the outdoors or poor weather is keeping you inside, there are a number of ways for you to help your children get exercise even if you have to remain indoors. While it’s a good idea to stick to less rambunctious activities — save kickball and tag for the outdoors — there are plenty of exercises and activities that are well-suited to the indoors. Some good options include:
An indoor dance party: Turn on your and your child’s favorite songs and have a family dance party! Dancing isn’t just great exercise; it can also be a major mood-booster, especially during stressful times. What’s more, it barely requires any room. Just clear a small space and dance it out.
Yoga: Dancing is energizing, but sometimes, a more calming exercise may be in order. For those times, yoga may be the perfect way to keep your children calm while helping them stay active. There are countless child-friendly yoga videos available for free on YouTube — all you need is a screen and a yoga mat or towel.
Simon Says: Simon Says is a great way to turn aerobic exercise into a game. Incorporate commands like, “Simon says do jumping jacks,” or, “Simon says run in place,” into the usual commands like, “Simon says touch your nose.”
Outdoor Activities for Young Children
If you have a yard or are able to get out to a park, the possibilities for activity are almost endless. However, encouraging your child to get an hour of exercise may be easier said than done, especially if they’ve grown used to sitting inside with a screen over the past couple months. Here are some suggestions for activities that are engaging enough to entice your child to set aside their TV shows and games:
A chalk obstacle course: If you have a driveway or access to a wide sidewalk, create an obstacle course out of chalk, inviting your child to help you design and draw it. Add hopscotch, ladders, or circles, making up rules for what they must do when they come to each obstacle.
A race: Nothing encourages kids to get their energy out like a little friendly competition. Whether it’s a foot race to the mailbox or a bear crawl across the yard, it will be hard for your children to resist a chance to be crowned the champion.
Sports drills: While it’s hard to play a full soccer, baseball, or basketball game with just a single family unit, your child may be missing their school sports and leap at the opportunity to hone their skills. Consider playing catch in the yard or running dribbling drills in the driveway.
A Partner in Your Children’s Health One Call Away
Staying active and healthy at home isn’t always easy, but it’s far from impossible — and the mood-boosting and behavioral benefits of doing so make it more than worth the effort. For more ideas on how to keep your children healthy during self-quarantine, or for any questions about your children’s wellbeing, please feel free to reach out to the pediatricians at Kids’ Health to schedule a virtual appointment....
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About Kids’ Health
Kids’ Health is a family-centric, independently-owned pediatric practice in Beverly, MA. We are committed to helping your child reach their best physically, emotionally, and academically, and combine personal service with modern technology to keep our patients healthy and happy.
900 Cummings Center
Suite 113 – T
Beverly, MA 01915