Keeping Immune Systems Strong @Home Part 1.
Now one thing we all have at home right now, is MORE. More humans, more mouths to feed, more food being eaten, more meals and snacks to think about, more mess being made, more of your patience being tested....
But you know what, one thing you also have more of now, is MORE time. Just a little. Perhaps that commute time you are not doing? Not the rush to get out the door, to daycare/preschool/school? No doubt that time is now slowly getting chewed up...but while we can, let's ensure we use the time effectively to keep ourselves healthy and ready for life to return to the new normal.
Keeping healthy all the time is important, but especially at this time of heavy and systemic change. Being a whole person, mental and physical health are equally important. You cannot truly have one with out the other.
One of the most consistent daily challenges we have as parents generally, is how many jobs we have looking after and nurturing growing (and some of us, fully grown) less able humans. Having this constant underlying mental load, already had many on "just getting by" level.
You were super human before but this new reality of homeschooling AND working is just ridiculous. It is not possible. Nor will it last for ever. It is a moment in time for us to feel truly tested and how we respond is important. Deep breathes…come up for air...We can only try to help ourselves as best we can.
So, let's try to spin it into something positive. Let's take SOME hint of control back in our day. Let's think about how we can get something helpful out of this in preparation for when the storm passes.
Structure and Routine
We know the importance of routine and structure for kids. It's consistency creates a sense of safety. In our day's now, at home, with a full house, routine will also create a sense of order and help manage everyones expectations.
We are trying to focus on keeping our pre-COVID19 school routine. Sure we slept in a little the first week, but learnt quickly that if you want to work towards them being tired at the same time of a night, you need them awake and active for those same hours.
Now don't get fooled by the word "routine". Any parent professing on any social networking post to have it sorted is pretty delusional. We have a loose ambition for routine, but anything short of a single child with a full time nanny, and sweeping acres of home, any rational parent knows you are not in control of your day.
However! One thing you have some moderate control over, is the food routine and in our completely bias opinion, it is an important one. Here are some things you can take control over and why its a good thing. You control:
- The snacks and meals available.
- The time of the day for meals and snacks that suits the majority of hunger pains.
- Where everyone eats and the type of environment you want at meal times, which ideally should be in a designated eating area free of devices and distractions.
- The fact that everyone should eat together; for talking, peer modelling of food healthy eating, perhaps trying new foods together and ofcourse, encouraging the involvement in preparing foods.
Then, you have the movement routine. We all need it and we are legally allowed to. Try to:
- Get out in the morning, mid day, before dinner or after dinner.
- Make sure you get your heart rate up and get some sweat happening atleast 3 out of the 7 days of the week.
You want those humans to sleep. They need to move, as do you.
In our house now, we are taking advantage of the time in the morning to encourage the kids (ages nearly 3, nearly 5 and 7) to get their own breakfast and snacks ready. Get their bowls, milk, cereal. Get the bread out, their spread, plate and knife; have a go at buttering their toast. Then they pack away, load the dishwasher etc.. or atleast have a good try at it.
- Following the school routine, crunch and sip is a great feature of the school day. So the 7 year old gets the fruit and veg out, cuts it up with his Kiddies Food Kutter and puts it on a share plate.
- Lunch is a team effort, but we all take time out together for this. We all have the same or similar things, so we are not preparing 5 different meals.
- Afternoon tea, the kids get their own from our pre-agreed/prepped snacks.
- Late afternoon, we often try a new recipe where the kids can help with making. Usually a new snack, that we can add to the kit of "get your own" for the week.