How will Social Distancing Impact our Kids' Health?
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As an occupational therapist in Boca Raton, FL, I have been observing how the kids in our community are reacting to this new normal. While some kids are outside on their bicycles and skateboards, others have sheltered inside and are constantly playing video games. We’ve been home long enough at this point that these routines can have an impact on their health.
The National Collaborate on Childhood Obesity Research shared a really interesting article from the New York Times. The author of this article expresses concerns that children are essentially going to be home for DOUBLE the amount of time they are usually home during summer.
According to this article, children typically gain weight faster during this summer. This isn’t surprising to me. Since many parents continue to work during summer, it can be hard to structure time for outside play and exercise. In school, children typically have time for recess and PE. Additionally, schools are required by law to serve a certain amount of healthy food. Families may not typically have access to this in their households. For many kids, summer means junk food, TV, and video games.
But what does this mean when kids are spending half of the year in the house? Parents are definitely going to need to go back to work as we move through the phases of reopening in Florida.
I think it means we need to be more aware of environment we are setting up in our house for children. Instead of setting it up for junk food snacking and video games, we need to set it up for play and healthy eating.
From my experience, a couple ways we have done this is:
1. Setting up a healthy snacking station (more ideas on our Pinterest for this).
2. Setting up a schedule – a time for exercising each day, a time for playing without TV, a time for family bonding.
3. Helping kids start eating new vegetables. For some tips on how to do this check out our free E-Book.
4. Teaching kids about cooking or gardening. Learning to cook and garden can help them become more interested in the foods they are eating.
How is your family responding in this situation? Have you created structure for exercising and moving in your household? Do you feel like you have enough ideas?
Don’t forget to look into our “Get Your Kids Moving” series. We have 5 full blog posts with recommendations about how to get moving!
If you are having difficulty motivating your child to make healthier choices, OT 4 ME is in South Florida and can help! We work with you and your child to find a routine that they find FUN and that works for them. If this sounds like it might help you, OT 4 ME offers free discovery visits! Simply sign up and I will set up a time to talk to with you.
I am looking forward to hearing from you!
OT 4 ME
PO Box 273965
Boca Raton, FL 33427