Lately, families have been doing their best during a school year unlike any other.
Along with schooling and working, one of the biggest challenges is staying healthy and active while spending more time at home. It's easy to see how many families may be struggling with this right now, when you consider that:
- Many popular in-person activities that get kids moving are cancelled or restricted, including sports, dance and martial arts.
- Kids are generally not playing with peers as much, and parks in some areas are closed.
- During full-time online learning, kids may be sitting for extended periods each day.
- Stressful situations may cause emotional eating, which can lead to weight gain.
Many families are experiencing real hardship this year. Our heart goes out to all of those in the Outschool community who are struggling.
While we're not offering panaceas, we believe that kids learn best when they feel best. A big part of that is staying healthy and active.
Fortunately, the Outschool parent community has graciously shared tips and photos about how they are maintaining healthy habits and routines while learning at-home.
[Note: enjoy these community posts? Then check out our first community round-up post on "homeschool rooms" and at-home learning spaces.]
5 tips for keeping kids healthy & active during remote learning
- Make a time and place for quiet time - Outschool teacher and parent Michelle Elaine Morningstar and her daughter have carved out a spot in their backyard they call "Eden." They take daily breaks there in between Outschool classes. If space is limited, try using lighting, music or scents to create a different mood for a daily relaxing routine. There are benefits of quiet time for all ages.
- Experiment with new kinds of exercise - To stay active and moving, Outschool parents mentioned that their kids have been doing Yoga, "Shred" exercise classes, and dance, all from home. Explore all exercise classes on Outschool here.
- Help your learner keep a healthy information diet - In addition to maintaining a regular family movie night, Outschool parent Stacy Moore limits her kids' exposure to "excessive" media about politics and other potentially stressful topics.
- Find an Outschool class that teaches healthy habits - Parents share that their kids are staying fit and healthy with classes about yoga, anger management, mindfulness, and social hour.
- Embrace kinesthetic learning - Many learners retain information better and stay focused longer when they move while learning. Outschool teacher Hope Melendez teaches reading and spelling by integrating simple exercises like jumping jacks and toe touches into her learning activities. Read more on strategies for kinesthetic learning here.
Families find fun and fulfilling ways to stay active while learning at home
Some families encourage taking walks and embracing responsibility by expanding their family with a new furry friend.
Taking to nature helps families learn about the outdoors while also getting exercise.
Establishing a quiet, peaceful space helps young learners share healthy habits with family members.
Caring for animals is a learning experience that also builds lifelong memories.
If learners' favorite ways of staying active are unavailable in person, you can still make them happen at home!
Strike a balance across physical, mental, and emotional health
Overall, many families are trying to do the best they can, with the resources they have, without burning themselves out or adding more stress to their plates.
It may not be possible right now to maintain the same level of healthy habits and activities that your family was used to at this time last year, and that's OK.
By taking small steps to take care of you and your learner's physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing, you'll know you're giving your kids the best opportunity to keep learning and growing during these unique times.