As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our lives have been turned upside down. This is also true for children. To help parents keep their children physically and emotionally healthy, Cigna Medical Group pediatric nurse practitioner Joelle Wysoski shares some tips that parents can use during this challenging time.
“Physical and emotional health go hand-in-hand when it comes to the overall health and well-being of both adults and children,” said Joelle Wysoski, pediatric nurse practitioner with Cigna Medical Group in Arizona. “During this time of uncertainty there are several ways parents can create and maintain a healthy environment for their children to thrive.”
Regardless of whether your child is returning to school virtually or in person, it’s important to establish a routine to create a predictable pattern and maintain structure. This would include maintaining a regular bedtime, so children have a consistent sleep pattern.
Be sure to bring your child in for their annual well check appointment. “Well appointments are important because they provide an opportunity for health care providers to see how children are growing and developing and ensure they are up-to-date on their vaccines. This year the flu shot will be more important than ever,” said Wysoski.
Make sure your children are getting enough physical activity each day. Children need 60 minutes of daily exercise. This can be a bit more challenging for children who are not returning to school on campus and don’t have scheduled recess time. Riding bikes, swimming or going for a walk can be a great way to get some exercise in for the entire family. You can help to encourage your children by taking care of yourself by exercising and eating healthy. Children pay attention to what we do as much as what we say and will model healthy habits.
“I encourage parents to monitor screen time to help create a meaningful balance for learning and social connection,” said Wysoski. “While the ability to connect virtually with each other for school or relationships has become significant during the pandemic, it’s important children take a break away from screens to interact with family in your home, exercise, read or participate in a hobby or activity.”
Prepare healthy meals together. This is a great time to connect and talk to your children. Ask them daily how they are doing and what is on their mind. Not all children are able to easily articulate or show you how they may be feeling and what worries or concerns they may have. Spending time together and having an open dialogue can provide an opportunity for children to share how they are feeling.
“This is a difficult and unique time for all of us,” said Wysoski. “Contact your child’s health care provider if you have any concerns so they can help you navigate through this time to help keep your family healthy.”
In addition to these tips, Cigna has many resources to help support your emotional well-being during difficult and stressful times.
To learn more about Cigna Medical Group, click here.