Physical activity may have fallen by the wayside for you and your family during COVID-19. It makes sense that in the wake of canceled tournaments and park and pool closures, teens have relied more than ever on their electronics as places to socialize and escape.
The upside has been that staying away from others has reduced their exposure to the virus and prevented them from potentially bringing it home. The downside – too much screen time and too little exercise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years should participate in 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every day.
It's important for their physical fitness and mental health. Moving around throughout the day can lift your teenager’s mood, improve their sleep and lower their risk of developing diseases, like type 2 diabetes.
Encourage your kids to participate in fun activities that keep them moving
Telling your teen to fit in an hour of exercise a day can seem like a daunting task for any parent. But breaking that hour down throughout the day is easier than you think. Be creative and make it fun. Encourage your teen to consider these activities:
- They can get moving by dancing to online concerts with their friends.
- They can create special playlists and have a weekly dance party at home with family.
- Go for a family bike ride - biking has become very popular again.
- Many smaller exercise studios are offering classes via online platforms. Get some family members together and take a live class from home.
- Ask your teen to take their younger sibling for a short walk – it’s good exercise and great for building special moments together.
- Get your teen to take a jog or long walk with the family dog.
Give specific guidance to help your teens interact safely
With many local businesses now reopening, it can be tempting to meet up with friends in a public place. Talk to your teen about the importance of maintaining proper, health protocols. Even though they feel fine, it doesn’t mean they can’t infect another person.
On the other side of the coin, they need to be aware that everyone is at risk of getting COVID-19. Even young people who get infected have the potential of experiencing serious illness or complications. You don't want to scare them, but it's key to educate your children about the possible outcomes of getting this respiratory illness.
So, although it’s important to keep physically and socially active, we need to continue to guide our teenagers on the best way to do that, throughout this pandemic. Talk to you kids and get them to think about the bigger picture. Everyone has someone in their life that they love and want to protect. Let us all work together to keep our community healthy and safe. Give them this critical advice:
- The more people you meet with and the longer you meet with them it puts you at a greater risk.
- If you do meet with one or two friends, wear a mask and keep at least 6 feet away from each other.
- Wash your hands and carry sanitizer for when you need it; this helps fight the novel coronavirus and other viruses and germs.
- I know you like to hug your friends, but now is not the time. Hug our dog or cat and people in our family but not people or friends outside our household.
- Keep your faces away from each other because COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets whey your friend coughs, sneezes or talks.
- Even as a teenager, you can still become severely ill with this respiratory disease – take every precaution to avoid it.
We know how important friends are to our children. It’s up to us to help protect them during this unusual time and be a good role model for how to interact with others as safely as possible.