HOW CAN PARENTS KEEP KIDS PHYSICALLY ACTIVE IF SCHOOLS AND SPORTS ARE CLOSED?
Sara Poehlman, a nurturing care expert who works on emergency education and parent programs, stressed that children must move to ensure their physical and mental well-being. “Especially if children are doing distance learning via computer, movement in between periods of study is essential to ensure focus, concentration, and sustained attention,” she said.
Physical routine recommended by Poehlman includes running around the block, jumping jacks, yoga, or a dance party. Screen time may seem like a solution to keep children occupied, but it can be detrimental to their mood and energy when used for a prolonged period of time, she said. Poehlman recommends short intervals of screen time (no binge watching) and to select content that motivates physical activity (dance like a YouTube star) or reinforce learning themes and skills.
“Boys and girls need free, unstructured time for play,” Poehlman said. “If they do have worries, play can be a strategy to work them out. If possible, small groups of children could get together for social learning and play.”
Jayanthi recommends playing in the yard or basement, doing individual activities such as running, riding bikes or playing tennis in an isolated environment. “Do not perpetuate mass gatherings in the hope we can wish away this virus,” he said.
Stolbach advises many of the same activities as Jayanthi. Also: kicking a ball (instead of throwing it, which involves touching of the hand) and organizing a small group of neighborhood kids to play outside while using your best judgment. He cautions against using this time to continue specialized training in sports.
“It’s hard to say you can’t go do batting practice on your own,” he said. “But the more you’re in a public indoor facility that involves a lot of touching, like touching the bat and opening the gate, the more you’re kind of violating the spirit of the physical social isolation we’re trying to encourage in the next few weeks.”
Avoid settings where equipment is shared, including gyms and playground installations.
- HOSPITAL FOR SPECIAL SURGERY SPORTS SAFETY LEARNING CENTER
Online P.E. classes for grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12
- TEAMSNAP HOW TO TRAIN AT HOME
At-home workouts and resources
- USTA NET GENERATION TENNIS AT HOME
Tennis skill-building and exercise videos
- KING COUNTY PLAY EQUITY COALITION FAMILY & PROGRAMMATIC RESOURCES FOR SCHOOL CLOSURE
Apps, videos, and websites to promote physical activity for kids
- PLAYWORKS PLAY AT HOME
Games and live-streamed recess sessions
- NICK HELPS
An updating library of video resources and activities for children
- HIP HOP PUBLIC HEALTH H.Y.P.E. AT HOME
Videos, comics, and music to lead dance breaks
- ACTIVE FOR LIFE ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS
Backyard games that build physical literacy
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