As I write this post, families all over the country, and the world, are home bound. That is a huge difference for most of us that are used to coming and going as we please, and also having busy, active schedules. My grandchildren are finding all kinds of ways to have fun at home during social distancing and so can you!
Here are 3 ways to keep your family healthy and happy during this extended home time: 1) Be in the moment and really enjoy your family time, 2) Eat healthy to stay healthy, and 3) Manage your stress so that your family doesn’t become stressed.
One of the best things you can do for your family right now is to keep things as normal as you can so that stress levels don’t go up and other negative impacts start to ripple through your home. From learning sight words to making paper towel butterflies to sibling love, this article is written to help you survive your home time.
Concentrate on how you can make the most of this situation. Even though we have these busy, active schedules which are great, there is nothing better than some extra family time. Your kids will love the extra attention and fun that you give them.
It may be way out of your norm to have so much home time. Believe it or not there are still families that do hang out at home a lot, and they have all kinds of activities they enjoy together. We are only one week in right now and some are experiencing cabin fever. I encourage you to brain storm ways to stay happy and healthy at home.
I am seeing all kinds of resources being shared and it is such a good, positive way to be in this situation together. My granddaughter’s Pre-K teacher is posting videos of simple art projects you can do with your pre-schoolers at home that require items you have in your home such as making butterflies with paper towels and markers. My daughter-in-law who is a school teacher has all kinds of fun learning experiences planned for her kindergarten twin daughters.
I saw this link posted where you can print Disney coloring sheets: Walt Disney World Coloring Pages. There are so many other stories. I would search on Google as well as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or your favorite social media platform. Here are lots more free activities to do with kids at home: 101 Free Activities To Do At Home with Kids.
One of the most important things you can do at home is to eat as healthy as you can because nothing has changed in the fact that what you eat determines your health. My daughter and her two older children sure had fun making a healthy snack of protein balls made with peanut butter and honey.
There has never been a more important time in most of our lives to keep a healthy immune system. If your immune system is strong, you are going to fight off this virus and many more illnesses in a better way.
Kids may want to snack on all kinds of processed snacks that have no nutritional value. I am already seeing moms on Instagram and Facebook struggling with this and other concerns and while
Prepare healthy snacks for yourself and your children. Protein is better than endless carbs. My grandchildren made protein balls yesterday and they had lots of fun doing it and then were able to have a healthy snack for a few days until it is time to make more of them.
It is perfectly normal to be stressed at this time, and I have seen that expressed in person and all over the web. We have to try and divert those feelings to keeping things positive in our own homes, and the reason for that is that STRESS IS NOT GOOD FOR OUR HEALTH. Especially chronic stress is not good, and waking up stressed every day is chronic stress. If watching the news stresses you, limit that to a brief update every day.
If you struggle to manage your stress day to day, it can escalate further at a time like this. Whatever your stress management techniques for your everyday stress are, you can use them now as well.
One thing that can help is to know that pretty much the whole world is in this together with you. That may not be enough to help, and maybe you might need some new ways to manage your stress. The good news about that is the fact that managing stress is a very popular news topic right now. Do some searching and find something that resonates.
One thing that we like to use are interrupters that ‘interrupt’ the thoughts or actions that make you feel stress, and turn them to something more positive and makes you feel better. We write about that and have resources on our Train Your Brain page and we are adding more information about this concept that you are ultimately in control of every one of your thoughts and so there are things that you can learn to do to manage your stress and anxiety in a natural way that both works and does not have side effects.
For your happiness, and for your family’s happiness, managing stress and focusing on happiness, and thankfulness, and gratitude that we are all still here and most of us are still healthy, is going to matter a lot to your family both right now and in the future.
Getting outside for a walk either with your family or by yourself can be huge for your mental health. If social distancing allows that wherever you live, go ahead and get some fresh air.
Here are some ideas to help you with those 3 ways to keep your family happy and healthy at home.
Ideas for fun at home with the family
Movie Night: bring a mattress downstairs and gather blankets and pillows and your family for a fun, comfy movie night. Disney Plus streaming service is looking pretty good right now, with their collection of so many Disney movies. Making some popcorn, or not, can be fun but bottom line most kids LOVE movie nights!
Home Schooling: maybe the kids are happy to have that break from school but we can all find home schooling resources to do some fun lessons at home and keep those minds active. My three young granddaughters (5 and 6 years old) are learning how to write their name in cursive, something they don’t teach in schools here anymore.
Crafts: kids LOVE crafts and as I mentioned above there are lots of resources online. This is so encouraging and makes me happy to see people share like this. Cardboard box coloring is a favorite with our grandchildren all of the time. If there is a box to be seen they are taking it to color on and climb inside to make believe a boat or train car or space ship.
Cooking together: We talked above about eating healthy and what better way to make healthy food than to do some cooking together as a family. It is great for kids to learn how to cook and how to cook and eat healthy. While it is fun to bake sweets and desserts, think of healthy treats, and vegetables and meals to cook as well to encourage healthy eating habits, so that kids continue to learn that what they eat makes a huge difference in their health.
Exercise: At this time in most areas you can get outside and take a walk with your family, or you can find ways to exercise if you are completely home bound. The key is to stay active because it is good for your body and your mind. This could create a whole new trend of family exercise – we have to look at the POSITIVES during this time!
Play Together: Before this virus it was sad to read about the fact that many families had such scheduled lives with outside-the-home activities that there was not enough time to play together. I just face-timed with my grandchildren who said they are playing cards and learning to catch a ball and playing board games and even ‘playing school’ at home. Let all the members in your house suggest something to play together and then take turns and play!
Indoor Sports: Kids love to be active and depending on your space inside you may not have huge amounts of room, but you can make do with what you have and make some indoor sporting activities. I have seen ideas like race tracks made from cardboard or resources you have in your home, Target Golf like pictured on this site,
Prayer. What better way to spend time together as a family than in prayer. If this is something that you already do, there is now more time. If this is something that you struggle to do enough of on a regular basis, now we have that time. Let children talk as you pray. What a wonderful time and way to share feelings and talk about what is happening in order to give children ways to feel loved, safe and positive that things will get better.
Reach Out. This is such a good time to reach out and talk to other family members so that you keep some normalcy in your child’s life. Call the grandparents and other family members. Face time with cousins if you are able. Reach out to friends to keep those connections going. Our grandchildren love to talk on the phone and face time and everyone loves the connection. If you know someone who is alone, definitely reach out to them.
REST. Ok maybe this is not an active activity but it is important and so many of us, due to our normal busy lives, are sleep and rest deprived. So take some time, while you have the time and realize the healthy benefits that rest has for your body. The big news my 6 year old granddaughter just shared with me on Face Time was that she took a nap today. She doesn’t usually nap anymore but she said it felt really good! She is right.
What are you doing to help your family be healthy and happy at home during these unprecedented times?
I will leave you with this video I took during my own walk outside today. I am fortunate to have our church grounds 2 doors from my home. There is ample room to walk around and get some fresh air and enjoy the added benefits of running water and church music.