The UN estimates that over 290 million children are out of school at home because of the Coronavirus pandemic. The longer we are confined to our homes, the more susceptible we all are, both kids and adults, to feelings of restlessness, irritability, and boredom. Experts agree physical activity is our answer to this “cabin fever”. The following 10 tips will help keep you and your child moving and everyone happier and calmer.
10 Fantastic Tips to Keep Kids Moving at Home
The benefits of keeping kids moving
Besides avoiding cabin fever, keeping our kids moving provides many benefits.
- keeps our body fit
- improves concentration
- builds self-esteem
- relieves stress
- helps us relax
- helps us sleep better
The more we can keep ourselves and kids physically active, the better everyone feels during this difficult time.
Can you go outside?
Arguably our best bet in keeping everyone physically active is to spend time outside. Being physically active while getting a healthy dose of Vitamin-D is a winning prescription. However, playing outside might not be an option for everyone. For example, in our enclave in Delhi, due to the extended lockdown, the resident welfare association has locked all the gates to the parks. Here is some general advice regarding going outside:
- Take a walk in the park, but be sure to stay at least six feet away from others.
- Stay away from playgrounds and public restrooms because we use our hands in areas like these.
- Stay away from parks and hiking trails that are overrun with people. If you can’t easily keep six feet away from others, best to not risk visiting these areas.
- While we are less than six feet away from each other, when we walk our dog together as a family, we are fine. The medical community has a new name for this, your “social cohort”. Basically, these are the people with whom you are isolating.
- A hike in the woods is great, but be sure you don’t sprain an ankle or any other type of injury that requires medical attention adds more strain on the medical system. And remember, don’t visit any public place on that hike.
- Florida and California have recently gained a lot of attention because of large crowds at beaches. If beaches are not crowded, and you can maintain the six feet rule, then it’s ok.
And let’s not forget, best of all is if you have your own lawn or garden!
Yoga for everyone!
Because cabin fever affects all of us, young and old alike, consider doing yoga with your kids. Here are a few resources to help get you started:
Yoga books for kids.
Good Night Yoga and Good Morning Yoga, storiesby Mariam Gates and illustrations by Sarah Jane Hinder, are two beautifully written stories with fantastic illustrations that combine morning and evening routines with basic yoga moves for kids. When else, other than being home during the Coronavirus, will you have a chance to wake up and go to bed with your kids like this? Check out these and more of their well-reviewed books focused on kids and yoga. Can’t get out of the house, bookstores are closed, or Amazon doesn’t deliver? Don’t worry, you can always buy Good Night and Good Morning Yoga on Kindle.
Yoga apps for kids.
The following yoga apps for kids are well-reviewed. All of them are rated E for Everyone, all of them are free (but offer in-app purchases), and some of them include ads. Hopefully, this will help you get started in finding the right app for you and your kids.
- Yoga for Kids
- Cosmic Kids Yoga
- Yoga for Kids and Family Fitness
- Daily Yoga for Kids
- Yoga for Kids – NB Fits
Yoga on YouTube for kids.
Cosmic Kids Yoga started as a YouTube channel. The channel also launched an app a few years back. Once you complete the first 5 videos on the app, the cost to continue is significant. While the YouTube channel only provides 28 free videos, that’s all you need to get started, and judge if your kid is sufficiently interested to justify paying for more access. Cosmic Kids Yoga is, in my opinion, one of the best place to introduce your kids to yoga. Jamie is a quirky, fun, and kind teacher.
Dance, Dance, Dance
Dancing at home might be the best the most fun physical activity for young kids. We dance all the time! And with KidzBop and GoNoodle, you can’t go wrong.
- Kidz Bop. Kidz Bophas been around forever, like 18 years. Kids Bop takes today’s pop music, creates kid-friendly lyrics, then rerecords the song with kids singing the songs. It’s a great concept. You can access Kidz Bop almost anywhere. The site has a website, a YouTube channel, and apps. For many kids, it’s their first, safe introduction to pop music. Once the pandemic is over, the traveling live show is also when many kids experience their first concert.
- GoNoodle. We recently discovered GoNoodle through a good friend of ours who teaches in California. GoNoodle is based on data that demonstrates fit kids concentrate better, are more relaxed, and adapt better in social situations. The site is a collection of 5 to 10-minute videos teachers can use between activities at school, or you can use between activities at home. The site is well-reviewed.
Any room in your home can be an obstacle course.
Chances are, your kids already like climbing on the couch. All you need are pillows, old Amazon boxes, toys, old items in the garage, or storage. 15 minutes of arranging and instructions, then you’re ready to go. Check out the world wide web, lots of options, and ideas. Also, a great idea if you have a backyard!
Everyone loves a good scavenger hunt.
Like the obstacle course, a scavenger hunt can be set up with little prep time, and kids love it. If you need inspiration, check out the web for examples of clues and maps you can use and adapt to your home and kids.
OPEN—a one-stop-shop for physical activities.
OPEN stands for Online Physical Education Network. The site is designed for parents or teachers partnering together to help kids stay physically active. The site is grounded in physical education and social and emotional learning outcomes. OPEN also recently updated its site by highlighting those activities designed for physical, social distancing. The site includes videos, PDFs, and entire programs designed to help kids stay physically active at home and school.
Cabin fever is a genuine phenomenon that all of us, both parents and kids, are likely going to experience for the next few weeks, if not months. Experts agree that one of the best remedies to counteracting cabin fever is physical movement, exercise, and moving our bodies while having fun! The more we can vary what our kids can do at home, and in our gardens, the better off everyone will be. And again, let’s not forget ourselves, the parents, in this equation. So, my final suggestion, one that I’m working on as I adapt to homelife 24 hours a day, is to make the most of our family’s time together. Like doing yoga with your kids, let’s reframe the Coronavirus lockdown as an opportunity to be with and try out new activities with our kids. And reinforce the idea and science that shows us: physical activity is not only good for our body but also our mind and spirit. Please share any examples of websites, apps, or physical activities, games and otherwise, you are doing at home with your kids, in the comments section below.