Continue to be activeAdopting or maintaining physical activity is essential, even in a confined space. Children and adolescents should be active for a minimum of 60 minutes a day as recommended by the World Health Organization.These can be intense moments of activity such as simple games — playing hide and seek, making a fort in the basement, inventing a route in the alley, throwing a basketball, kicking a soccer ball, playing ball hockey in the street, dancing, biking or skateboarding.You can also ask your child to explain the latest game they learned at recess or in their health and physical education class and try it out with them. The possibilities are endless!
Take active breaksAs well, you can alternate with fine motor activities such as writing, painting, drawing, modelling, sewing or crafts. These activities should be interspersed with breaks and ideally be done in several short periods of five to 15 minutes rather than in one long 60-minute period. What is important is that the activities are diversified and regular.Other options exist for getting young people moving, such as walking and household chores. Additional strategies can be found online, such as active breaks with GoNoodle, Wixx (in French) and H2GO, for example.Be careful to choose your breaks carefully. Some of them are more useful or even more fun. Finally, free play outside, in a backyard, garden or in the street, without contact with others, is another possibility.There are also many online resources for parents, such as yoga, pilates, crossfit and circuit training at home (in French).
Healthy, balanced eatingBoredom and withdrawal can easily lead to complacency in a confinement situation. This is an excellent opportunity to cook as a family and to learn how to eat healthily with our children by offering them recipes adapted to their abilities and needs. A balanced menu can be planned ahead of time by including the necessary groceries according to your budget.Canada’s Food Guide can be an excellent home reference tool for children. It is also possible to introduce children to new foods, our own cultural specialties, and other foods through well-known sites such as Ricardo.For parents who like to experiment, this is the opportunity to try out new recipes or to dust off the old recipe books that are lying around in your library. It’s also an opportunity to make your children aware of the importance of gardening, food waste, recycling and composting.As the food guide indicates, we must encourage diversity, reasonable portions, meals in good company and the pleasure of enjoying our food. In this time of confinement and upheaval of routine, the temptation to lose good habits can be great.
Get a good night’s sleepThe current crisis requires a major change of pace. For the well-being of all (parents and children alike), it is important to get enough sleep.A tired child is under stress and will be more irritable, which can have an impact on the whole family.It is best to keep the usual bedtime and wake-up times, with a preference for quiet activities (without screens) just before bedtime.READ MORE: Resources to help kids learn from home
Reduce sources of stressIsolation is a difficult time because we need to exchange with others. It is important to find other ways to do this, such as organizing a meal for friends via Skype, FaceTime or Messenger, calling or writing messages to family and friends.There may also be times when your children experience stress, boredom or mental exhaustion related to the confinement situation. It is important to give them periods of rest, alone and quiet.Pay attention to the well-being of all family members. Organize breaks during the day when you find that motivation is no longer there. It’s good to change tasks after 30 or 45 minutes or when you think that the screen time has lasted long enough. Read something other than the news and allow everyone to quietly retreat to a room in the house when necessary.
Manage screen time wellExposure of young people to screens has the potential to change their behaviour and can have a negative effect on sleep.In this regard, studies show that the more time spent in front of the screen, the greater the risk of suffering from depressive symptoms, anxiety and obesity in the longer term.For good TV management, educator Philippe Meirieu suggests adopting the following formula: choose in advance, watch with, talk after (French).We must change our children’s relationship with screens. First, help them choose screen content and formats, watch videos or play games with them and then discuss what has been viewed.This accompaniment allows children to distance themselves from the content they consume, to criticize it and to reflect on it. Finally, we must manage what Meirieu called the “available brain time” for learning so that children can continue to learn and not just be entertained.
Coronavirus: How Parents Can Pass the Time With Children