Here’s how you can keep children entertained – and active – during the lockdown.
Many children are feeling restless cooped up indoors during the lockdown, and parents are struggling to keep them engaged, safe and healthy. There is a simple option to mitigate this problem – exercise.
“Exercise is probably the only activity that ticks all boxes,” says Parul Ohri, founding member, Momspresso.com. “[During the lockdown] Children have been denied their normal routine of sports and outdoor activities. They have a lot of pent up energy that needs a release.”
Since stay-at-home orders mean children are getting less fresh air and sunlight than usual, Ohri suggests channeling energy through a family workout. “Creating an exercise routine not only takes care of physical fitness, it is also proven to contribute positively to mental wellness.”
Bust a move
But getting children to exercise is easier said than done. Parenting consultant Sonali Shivlani recommends letting children choose age-appropriate activities that are also high on the enjoyment front.
“Very young kids would be happy with running in a park, jumping or doing simple exercises. Slightly older kids may be interested in actual sports or dance workouts. If you have teenagers, cardio, dance or strength training workouts [which are available online] would be a great option,” Shivlani says. “If nothing works, just slip on some peppy music and dance together. It doesn’t matter if you do not know how to dance or look funny.”
Shivlani believes that any type of exercise will help burn energy, allowing children to wind down earlier at night. “This can help with scheduling the [next) day, especially if the parent is working from home,” she says.
Lead by example
“As per WHO guidelines, children need at least 60 minutes of moderate to high-intensity exercise per day, and therefore, a fixed workout schedule 2-3 times a day in short intervals is recommended,” say Prathima Koppolu and Avinash Rajapet, co-founders of Fitb.ee, a fitness app for children, in a joint statement. The duo believe that when parents make time to work out with their children, it seems like a fun activity rather than a forced chore. “Innovative board games like creating your own ‘dice’ workout, along with easy to do challenges, keeps the entire family involved and is a great alternative [to routine exercise],” they say.
Listen to your child
However, Koppolu and Rajapet caution going slowly. “It is important for parents to listen to what children have to say about how they are feeling on a given day or about a particular exercise. There may be days when children don’t want to work out and that’s okay. Communicate with them to understand how one should proceed.”
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