Concentrate On What You Can Control

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Raising healthy, active kids in the time of COVID-19

Leslie Smith Grant, author of Rule a Healthy Roost

There is ZERO amount of imagination that could’ve predicted our current situation: quarantined for weeks on end, in our homes, with our kids. Parents are feeling the pressure to manage through the duration of this pandemic and come out on the back end financially, emotionally, and physically sound, and there are many families who will struggle in ways not imagined by any living generation. Make sure generosity and gratitude are part of your family conversations as much as possible.

Personally, I’m listening to one of the best pieces of advice I’ve received from a very smart friend: “Concentrate on what you can control!” How we address each day – feeding, exercising, and entertaining ourselves and our children – is most definitely within our control. If you are like me, you need a little bit of guidance, but don’t want to go down a hundred YouTube rabbit holes!

A few years back, a group of very creative friends and I got together to assemble a great collection on how to build a “healthy coop” – all the basics to make nutrition and exercise for families as easy and fun as possible. Incredibly, it’s perfectly suited to these crazy homesteading/homeschooling times in which we now find ourselves.

No matter what your traditional roles have been, times have dramatically changed, and it’s essential to move to an “all hands on deck” style of parenting! One of the first steps could be helping kids understand their daily nutritional needs (I know this sounds tricky but it really isn’t!). Try using a nutrition tracking chart so your kids can begin to understand a little bit more about what they are eating each day. Help them see how they are getting what their bodies need before any sweets or other treats they might want.

A second, and perhaps more important, step is to ensure that everyone’s mental health is nurtured. Specifically, make sure to exercise and have fun with your kids each day! Keeping it real in the confines of your home can be remarkably simple if you work a couple of these old school P.E. activities and drama-cizes into your daily quaran-routine!

Old School P.E. – Crab Dips (reverse push-ups)

Designed by Coach Randy Brookins

An upper body strength activity

Age Group: 4+

How Long It Takes: 2-5 minutes

How Many People: 1+

Equipment Needed: None

Space Needed: 4’x4’

Instructions:

  • Sit on the floor.
  • Place hands on the floor on each side of your body – fingers pointing towards feet.
  • Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor.
  • Keep shoulders in line with your hands and feet in line with your knees as much as possible.
  • Raise your midsection off the floor.
  • Slowly bend elbows and lower your upper body down towards the floor 2-4 inches.
  • Slowly push your body up again with arms extended straight.
  • Repeat until fatigued.

Do 2-4 sets of the activity.

Use stomach muscles to hold the midsection off the floor.

Drama-cizes – Make Your Own Tongue Twisters…

Designed by Amy Handler

Tired of selling seashells by the seashore or woodchucks chucking wood? Now’s your chance to remake the classics while giving your tongue and imagination a great workout.

Age Group: 6+

How Long It Takes: As long as it needs to, can go on forever

How Many People: 2+

Equipment Needed: none

Space Needed: Literally, anywhere!

Instructions:

  • Pick a letter that your group tongue twister is going to start with.
  • Have each player secretly pick a word that starts with that letter.
  • Go around the group one at a time and say your word. Do this a few times, getting faster and faster until you can remember all of the words in order.
  • Take turns each saying the whole thing alone. Once you’ve really got it, say it as faxt as you can three times in a row.

Try it in rounds with each person starting theirs on the second word, third word, etc.

See how soft and how loud you can say it. Try other variations too – fake crying, holding your tongue, plugging your nose, with an accent, etc.

Some whining may precede, some hilarity will ensue, and learning how to stay fit, sane, and happy will be some mighty great silver linings to this otherwise cooped up craziness!

 

Stay home, happy, and healthy!

Having fun with your kids is a great exercise, but getting them to eat fruit and vegetables doesn’t have to be a game of chicken. Find more exercises and activities like these – as well as easy-to-use nutrition information, recipes, and kitchen safety advice – in Leslie’s forthcoming book, Rule a Healthy Roost, out April 30 from How2Conquer. Dad University followers can get 15% off with code: DadUni15

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