Tips for keeping children healthy during the pandemic

Activities for children during the pandemic.

Parenting during a pandemic isn’t pretty. One of the biggest challenges of the year for parents has been trying to keep their children active and eating healthy. With everything being done from home now, sports cancelled, and recreation centers closed until further notice, it’s been very easy for students and parents to spend more time snacking and less time exercising. However, there are some fun and creative ways for everyone to get up and get busy. 

The Peloton bike became very popular this year as sales soared on home workout equipment. The reviews are great and families everywhere boast about it, but the basic bike can set you back $1,895. With the unemployment rates as of November 2020 at 6.7%, and over 11 million Americans out of work, that may not be the most feasible choice for most of us.

However If your child has a Nintendo Switch, which is much more affordable than a Peloton, your child can use the device to make working out from home a fun and exciting challenge. There are many fitness games to choose from and lists these as the best of 2020: Ring Fit Adventure, Jump Rope Challenge, Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm and Exercise, Just Dance 2021, Mario Tennis Aces, Fitness Boxing, Zumba Burn It Up!, ARMS, and Sports Party. 

Families can use a plethora of videos available on YouTube to stay in shape that only require a streaming device and an internet connection. The popular TikTok app has many dances and challenges that both parents and children can enjoy together or individually. 

If you’re seeking a break from the computer there are more options. Jeff Ralston, who is the Director of Nutrition Services for the Oregon City School District, and a Certified Health Coach, offers more suggestions that can easily be done around the home. “Simple things that don’t require any equipment like jumping, jacks, pushups, sit-ups, or just picking things up can be effective in burning calories,” he said. 

He also recommended that if possible, children should try to get outside with parents and try to make it a challenge for kids to see how many steps. He said that using a device such as a Fitbit watch can help you stay motivated and improve your health by tracking your activity, exercise, food, weight and sleep. Or if you’re on a budget, downloading a nutrition and fitness app to your phone works just as well.  

As far as food choices go, Ralston said that the key thing is to stay away from junk foods. To combat that he said keeping your mind busy with activities like puzzles or reading a book will help.

The Oregon City School District feels that when students are well-fed they are more likely to succeed. So they are providing children with breakfast, lunch and dinner to bus stops throughout the district each morning Monday through Friday, through June 30, 2021. It is open to everyone 18 and under, requires no verification, and all meals meet the daily requirements for nutrient standards for each age group as required by USDA. 

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Rebekah Thompson

Rebekah is studying Communication at Clackamas Community College. She was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois as well as the Twin Cities in Minnesota, but moved to Portland, Oregon from the Quad Cities. She has a son and a cat named Sharpie. Her favorite musician is Jimi Hendrix, and in her free time, she love writing songs, photography, gardening, painting and cooking.