This term has been thrown around the past few months as people have begun noticing their weight gain as a result of the pandemic. Though I am not a nutritionist or fitness expert, I believe this “COVID 15” boils down to two main contributing factors.
- the science behind eating sugar and carbs
- greater inactivity
As a mom of three boys, who has always been a huge proponent of intentional unstructured play, structured play, and healthy nutrition, here are my mom tips on keeping these two contributing factors under raps throughout quarantine and increased time at home.
Understand Food Cravings
The Boston Globe Correspondent, Jon Marcus posted an article (linked here) in May of this year that really put it all into perspective for me. Sugar and carbs actually produce a feel good chemical, dopamine. So, in times like this- uncertainty and lots of change- it is natural to crave these foods more and more. At our home, to avoid an overindulgence, we offer dessert on weekend nights only, but allow a piece of candy from time to time, if the kids ask for it. I even put a few sweets on their lunch plate, as suggested by Kids Eat in Color’s Jennifer Anderson.
Be Intentional with Kids Activities
Be intentional to incorporate unstructured play, but also find ways to incorporate structured play.
Unstructured play: My boys get very engaged in screens or movies and we have found that even over holidays and breaks, that keeping a balance in their day makes them so much happier. While they may grumble about leaving the video game, they love the opportunity for creativity. During our complete quarantine weeks in the spring of 2020 when everyone was home, working and schooling, we introduced a checklist to the boys. At the time, we required them to check things off to encourage independence. This checklist is linked here in our blog post Keeping the Balance. Creative play is so important! It is always my hope they can come up with the idea on their own and entertain themselves, but sometimes they need a little suggestion to play with items they may not have thought of before. Active for Life published these 42 easy activities, which will be sure to keep kids engaged and playing!
Structured play: Here are some considerations to encourage your children’s activity levels whether you and your family have decided to continue sports during this uncertain time or not: “Team sports offer opportunities for exercise, which is crucial for health, and also for socialization, and learning how to be a part of a community.” Dr. McCarthy at Harvard Health Publishing explains in this article there are ways to lower your risk during the Pandemic and still continue with team sports as your structured play activity.
If team sports are currently not an option for your family, we have many classes at Kids Connected that offer virtual structured play to ensure there is no health risk. This will safely allow your children to learn, compete, socialize, and exercise. Check back frequently for new class offerings or click below to add your email address to our weekly mailer!
Comment below with ways you and your family are avoiding the “COVID 15.”