No doubt, children have been adversely affected by the virus. Though they have not suffered the biggest brunt compared to adults, many have died during the pandemic. As of December 2020, over 2 million children in America have been infected by COVID-19; nearly 200 have died. For the majority of children, dealing with mental health issues is top of their list of worries.
Since lockdowns and strict movement controls were implemented, children’s chances to play and socialize have been greatly diminished. But in an extremely tight situation, giving them the outlet to connect and express themselves can be instrumental in helping them cope.
To note, a complex set of factors are besieging children during the pandemic, affecting their mental health. That’s about uncertainty, parental angst, and social isolation, Psychiatric Times details. What used to be predictable has now been turned upside down.
A good way to combat all this stress is for children to spend more time in the outside world. But it’s a daunting process. Think about it. While in a normal world, spending time with the family in a park is a cinch, today it’s more of a challenge. How do you enjoy the outdoors if you need to social distance?
The good news is there are ways your children can get a timely mental and physical boost outside without endangering themselves to the virus. Following these proven strategies should help you and your children come out of the pandemic in flying colors.
Outdoor Exploration While Social Distancing
Of course, there’s nature all around us. Once you step out of the front door, your front lawn should be beaming with pride with all the greens available now that it’s summer. Take note that there are tons of benefits the outside world can give. It’s true for adults and even for toddlers and infants alike. However, if you choose to bring out the baby, make sure you’re putting them in a stroller or a carrier for better protection.
To get to your task, you have to be inventive. Here are ideas you can try that has proven to be most effective for children:
1. Nature Sculptures
Here’s creativity at its finest. The thing is, you can create awesome pieces of art by connecting twigs, rocks, stones, and whatever the kid’s hand can get into. Just use a play dough base, and your children should be good to go. You can help them by giving out ideas on what to build. It can be a theme from great children’s cartoon movies such as Ice Age, Moana, or Frozen.
The important thing is you stoke their creative nature. Another way to do this is to allow them to play in the mud using pans, broken pots, or their own toys. By doing so, you encourage teamwork, not to mention allow their motor skills and senses to heighten.
2. Walk or Bike with the Family
Another way to get your children to enjoy the outdoors is to walk together as a family. In addition, if you have enough bikes, you can also bike together. This way, you can still keep your distance from others and enhance their physical well-being. You can describe the things that catch your attention to a toddler to boost the fun.
Know that you may meet some resistance with older kids. It’s best you talk to them privately and never make a scene as it’s bound to be a tug-of-war struggle.
If you have kids who may be losing appetite and sickly, allowing a health coach to handle matters via talk therapy may be wise. A good coach can chart a path to health and motivate your teen to do better. Otherwise, if things turn for the worse, you should call a doctor.
3. Story Outdoors
Well, here’s an easy way to enjoy the outside world. Grab those children’s books and a blanket and have storytelling galore under a shady portion of your lawn. Or you can also do it at night to add more suspense to your stories.
Let Other Kids Chime In
You can take a page from organized sport such as the NBA or NFL. Team sports always make competitive juices flow. In this regard, you can help other kids enjoy the outdoors. Just make sure you coordinate with their parents before connecting with the child. Here are activities to try:
1. A Scavenger Hunt
To make it all even more adventurous, you can call on friends’ and neighbor’s kids who want to join. You can organize them to hunt for particular plants, birds, trees, and animals. Or you can have them put up a collection of odd-sized stones or acorns or leaves. You can even divide them into teams and come up with a prize for a race.
2. Leave a Trail
Well, why not organize a spy mission? Talk with other parents and develop a plan to send your kids on a “secret spy mission.” You can agree on the trail, a map, and whatever is best for your kids. With parents working together, children should benefit more at the end of the day.
With these ideas in mind, you can care better for your children. They can explore the outside world despite the health threat that is still present. Remember to take the necessary precautions to ensure they remain safe.