Navigating the unprecedented waters of COVID-19 is undeniably difficult. But doing so while you have a family raises a slew of new challenges. Parents are facing a lot more time at home with their kids, with many parts of the country under strict “stay at home” orders. I’m going to share some of the ways you can talk to your children about coronavirus, and give you some ideas to keep them entertained, engaged and healthy.
Feelings of stress negatively impact gut health, which can result in decreased immunity and increased digestive issues. These tips and tricks will keep your little one’s mental and physical health in good shape during these tough times.
Talking to Your Kids About Coronavirus (COVID-19)
As we settle into this temporary “new normal,” your children might be coming to you with questions about self-isolation, fears of becoming sick, or expressing frustrations at the need to stay home. When talking to your kids about COVID-19, it’s important to make them feel comfortable, supported and listened to. Just as we’re having to adjust as adults (my wifi is cutting out during a conference call again?) our children are having to grasp a new reality as well.
If your child is moody, empathize. If they’re scared, remind them that they are safe and taken care of. Share the facts with them, and stop the spread of misinformation when you can (this might be more common for elementary school students who are talking to classmates while ‘e-learning’).
Because your children might not be in the classroom during the day, their energy levels might be through the roof. And if keeping them entertained for this long seems daunting (we don’t blame you), here are some of my favorite ways to make the most of this extra family time.
Activities to Keep Kids Occupied
One of my recommendations for bringing the family together–while focusing on health–is to teach your kids the basics of cooking and baking. Not only does this afford you the perfect opportunity to teach your kids about nutrition as you cook, but it also turns something as simple as making a smoothie into an activity.
You can teach your kids to make any of your tried and true recipes, but here are a couple of my favorites to give you a starting point:
Chocolate Chip Energy bites:
(*PLEASE NOTE* These are for children over 12 months – No honey for 12 months and under!)
2 cups oats
1 cup nut butter or sun butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup ground flax. If don’t have, add 1/2 cup more oats
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 chocolate chips, mini m&ms or shredded coconut
Combine all ingredients together until well mixed. Form mixture into small balls. Place on a plate or cookie sheet and put in the freezer until frozen. Place frozen balls into a bag or container and store in the freezer until ready to eat.
1 cup pancake mix of choice
1 cup milk
1 cup spinach
Combine milk, spinach and banana in a blender until well blended. Combine milk mixture with pancake mix. Heat skillet or pan to medium-high. Pour pancake mixture onto hot surface and flip once bubbles rise to the surface. You can store these in bulk and store in the freezer until needed.
1 frozen banana
1 cup water/milk of choice
¼ tsp spirulina powder (this gives it the beautiful mermaid color!)
1 handful of blueberries
1 handful of greens (frozen spinach works great!)
This one’s easy: blend all the ingredients together and you’re set! The great thing about this smoothie is that you can add some nutritional benefits sneakily– try chia seeds for omegas or a powdered probiotic like Jettie for some good gut bacteria.
Getting your kids in the kitchen is more than just a way to keep them busy, it also gives you helping hands for pretty typical tasks like meals and snack time (which we could all use right about now). Each of these recipes require no more than 6 ingredients–most of which you probably already have in your kitchen– that require little preparation and clean up. So hand your little one a mixing spoon, teach them a little something about nutrition, and then get a snack out of it. It’s a win-win-win.
Safety Measures for Kids during COVID-19
Keeping kids as safe and healthy as possible is always a huge priority for parents, but especially now. Luckily, COVID-19 has proven to have rather mild symptoms in children, but you should keep a lookout for flu-like symptoms such as a fever or a dry cough. If you bring them along to the grocery store, pharmacy or doctors office, remind them to refrain from touching surfaces and objects within reach.
In most scenarios, children who have contracted COVID-19 have done so from a relative, so as long as you’re taking the necessary precautions to protect yourself, your children are at low risk. Above all, go easy on yourself. People all over the country (and world) are doing the best they can to keep themselves and their loved ones safe, healthy and taken care of. Remember to be receptive to your children’s questions and concerns, and give them opportunities to learn and help out (whether that be in the kitchen or not). And when all else fails, just go ahead and turn on Moana for the third time this week.