The weather is getting cooler, and COVID 19 is still hanging around. Outside dining and backyard gatherings with family and friends aren’t as easy as they were over the summer, school is back in session, and we’re all wondering how we’re going to navigate a full winter of social distancing. Below are a few tips for making the most of the colder months during a pandemic.
Working out is one of the most important things we can do for our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. As New Hampshire based strength coach Bobby Bonia says, “Motion is lotion.” In other words, staying active is the key to staying healthy. Ice-skating, snowshoeing, and sledding are fun winter activities that will get your heart pumping and your muscles working. Even a brisk walk is a great winter activity that can improve your health.
If you want the structure of a gym, but aren’t comfortable with indoor workouts, many fitness clubs are now offering outside group classes. This can be a fun way to exercise in a structured, safe environment while maintaining social distancing.
Bonia says that pandemic or not, MOVING is the key to wellness. Setting aside time to be active each day will help ease your COVID stress and keep your waistline from expanding. For more information about strength training and overall fitness, visit his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/288163315220712.
Working and Learning Remotely with Young Children
Working parents of school-aged children are now veterans when it comes to balancing their professional responsibilities with their children’s virtual learning. But even though you already know the drill, it still isn’t easy, especially if your children are young. The tips below will help make the winter days a little easier.
Remote learning for pre-school, kindergarten, and primary grade children isn’t ideal, but with the right approach, it can still be successful. Certified Educator Karen Rimol suggests making sure that children are properly prepared for online learning situations. Getting ready for school should include having breakfast or lunch, being dressed, and having anything necessary for online lessons. Parents may wish to incorporate routines that start the school day. If possible, parents should sit with their young children during instructional computer time. Older children may be able to engage in online learning more independently, but just as with any online time, your children should be somewhat supervised to ensure that they are engaged in the lessons and accessing the content to make learning successful.
Rimol advises incorporating breaks into the day that are off line. Exercise and fresh air help the body and brain oxygenate. Children in remote learning are missing out on important social time with peers. Find opportunities to play a quick game of tag, catch, or “make believe.” The fresh air and physical activity will prepare both of you for the next item on your To-Do Lists.
Your children will most likely be done with the school day before you’re done with your workday. And, if you’ve spent some (or most) of your work day focused on your kids, you likely have a lot left to accomplish before you shut down for the day. One way to protect this valuable time is to have a surprise bag with things like a new jar of play-doh, a fresh box of crayons, a new coloring book, or a deck of cards inside. When the kids are done school for the day, allow them to pick an item out of the bag that they can play with while you work.
Safely Interacting with Friends and Family
Most people have missed social gatherings more than anything else during the pandemic. The summer months allowed for outdoor gatherings that eased this burden. But as daylight wanes and temperatures drop, we find ourselves separated once again. Fortunately, with a little bit of planning, outdoor activities can still take up space on your calendar. Here are a few suggestions to keep you both socially distanced and entertained.
Hot dog and s’mores party: If your town allows outdoor fire pits, get a permit from your local fire chief and host an outdoor weiner and marshmallow roast.
Sledding: Accompany your children to the neighborhood sledding hill and take a few trips down yourself. After climbing up the hill a few times, the cold won’t seem so bad.
Build an ice rink in your yard: Having a family skating rink outside your front door will ease cabin fever. There are plenty of DIY instructions available online, but since I haven’t built one myself, I won’t recommend any or provide a specific link. However, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy several homemade rinks, and can say that they are lots of fun.
We’ll eventually figure out how to deal with COVID 19 without having to be socially distant, but until that time, we need to get creative and make the most of it. If you have suggestions to make dealing with the pandemic easier, please post them below! If you’d like to order some books for the little ones in your life, visit http://www.kellymcintireonline.com/adventures-in-fairy-meadow.htmlor http://www.kellymcintireonline.com/time-twisted.html.