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Covid-19 - Ways to keep active and healthy at home 18.03.20

THE arrival of Covid-19 has brought us to a serious time, whether for health care workers on the front lines, small businesses struggling to stay afloat, or for parents balancing working from home with looking after children without their normal outlet of playing with friends. There’s no doubt that with school closures and the step-up in social distancing, families are facing a challenging time ahead.
It would be understandable to resort to endless screen-time and treats to keep children happy, particularly while you’re juggling roles as a parent and working from home or trying to deal with other difficulties the new situation has brought. Here are some helpful tips from Safefood for some daily wins to help keep you, and the kids, that little bit healthier and hopefully, happier, in the weeks ahead.
• Handwashing is the best way to protect you and your family from illness. We have all been learning about what good handwashing habits are and it’s important to keep these up. You can find practical, how-to videos for younger and older children on www.safefood.eu where you’ll also find ‘Rufus the Handwashing Hero’ – he’s great for teaching your little ones all about handwashing.

• Try to get out in the fresh air as often as possible. The key advice is to stay in your family unit; children shouldn’t play with other children but there is nothing at the moment to stop you getting out as a family for a walk. Just stick to the latest advice on social distancing.

• Try to limit screen-time if possible; this would include all devices with a screen such as TVs, computers, smart phones, laptops, tablets and game consoles. We know screen-time isn’t easy to keep a lid on at the moment but try to set certain times for screens and agree these with the kids. For children under two, try to avoid screen time completely. For those aged between two and five, try to keep screen time to one hour each day. And for children over five, agree clear limits and a good guide is no more than two hours each day. As many children have been given online homework to complete, that should be considered as separate screen time.

• It could be very easy to fall into a habit of unhealthy snacking while you’re all at home. We have loads of ideas for making easy, healthy snacks that the kids could help out with – just visit www.makeastart.ie  for lots of healthy snack ideas.

• These unusual times present an opportunity to teach children a bit more about food. If you can, try to do a few cooking or baking projects while they are off. Get younger kids involved in food prep and mixing foods, setting and clearing the table. Consider putting older kids in charge of making dinner if you are trying to work from home. You can also try our simple, family-friendly recipes by visiting SafefoodTV on YouTube. As well as making food together, reading recipes and understanding quantities can also help kids with their numeracy and literacy skills while school is off.

• When you’re stuck for activities, especially if it’s raining outside, you could try our active play ideas, and bring back old-school retro games for your family. Check out some great play ideas for inside, or out, by visiting our START hub at www.makeastart.ie – you’ll find them under ‘Pause for Play’. And if you are playing outside, remember to stick to the latest advice on social distancing.

• While weather dependent, if you have access to a garden you could roll up your sleeves as a family get the garden back in shape after winter. You could even sow seeds for herbs and vegetables if you have any, introducing them to the idea of growing their own food. If you don’t have a garden, you can do this in pots on a window ledge.

• Last but not least, try to keep the children’s normal routine around sleep. This will help their mental and physical health during these strange and testing times. You can find advice on getting good night’s sleep on our www.makeastart.ie webpage.

For more information on being healthy and active as a family, you can visit www.safefood.eu .
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