The pandemic has detached kids off from friends, nutritious meals, sports, and routines. Due to virtual learning and few activities outside the home, it is no surprise kids are moving less and snacking more. If your family has been eating more processed, high-calorie food and spends a lot of time on screens, you are not alone. The pandemic has put more children at risk of obesity, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Children with obesity are more likely to have problems if they are infected with COVID-19.
Many parents are struggling to make sure their kids eat healthy foods, stay active and stick to a regular bedtime. Child’s pediatrician can provide professional support to enhance the health by counseling for mental health issues or substance use, screening for eating disorders, help managing stress, and a personalized plan to manage obesity. Eating well and exercising can help children cope with stress and stay healthy. Parents can support healthy eating habits by offering their children a lot of fruits and vegetables, creating a schedule for meals and snacks, and keeping healthy food in your home. Motivate kids to get moving by limiting their screen time after they are done with virtual learning for the day. Model healthy habits of parents would inspire their children to eat well and exercise, too.
Another strategy to win COVID-19 is by practicing good health practices. First and common practice is to encourage handwashing. Handwashing is an important way to prevent the spread of coronavirus and other infectious diseases. If a virus is living on a child’s hands and they touch their face, they may become infected. Parents should make sure their child is washing hands after blowing the nose, coughing, sneezing, before or after handling their face mask, leaving a public place, after touching animals or pets, after using the restroom, before and after eating food and before touching the face. The child should continue to practice social distancing, even if they return to school or activities. Children and all family members should also wear a face mask when they are in public. As part of social distancing, parents should also remind their children that they should not share items like masks, pencils, toys, food or drinks. Sleep helps keep the body healthy, giving it time to fight off infections and repair any damage. It is important to remember that children need more sleep than adults to stay healthy. Parents should provide children with an environment designed for sleep, which should be cool, dark, quiet, and free of screens. Last but not least, maintaining mental health is inevitable practice. Children may feel stressed during this time. They may be anxious about returning to school, sad about missing their friends or disappointed about the loss of sports or other activities. Frequently checking the children frequently to see how they are feeling, warning signs of anxiety, such as changes in sleep, eating or behavior.