Coping with COVID-19: Suggestions and Hacks to Help Children Get Some Exercise.

Child running outisde

It’s clear that the COVID-19 situation is going to last for a while, and while we’re all safe at home, we need to create healthy activities for ourselves.

This situation raises countless issues for people; we’re all facing different situations.There are many terrible, difficult issues that we all must grapple with—now and for a long time to come.

But one concrete issue that’s common to us all is…exercise. Exercise is so important for mood, focus, health—and immune function, which is so important now. By helping ourselves stay calm and healthy, we strengthen ourselves to deal with whatever may happen. And one day, this situation will end, and we will want to be fit to carry on.

For people with children, there’s the question: How do we get exercise and activity for our children?

Elizabeth and I host an Instagram Live conversation every Monday-Friday at 4:00 p.m. ET, and we asked viewers for their suggestions, and I asked on social media generally. We got so many suggestions from listeners and readers that I haven’t had a chance to visit all of them. Here are just a few:

  • Body Coach TVThe Joe Wicks School Workout is designed for schools and easily done from home.
  • Cosmic Kids Yoga – Yoga, mindfulness and relaxation designed specially for kids aged 3+, used in schools and homes all over the world.
  • Just Dance videos — Play the dance video game without a video game console—all you need is an internet-connected screen and a smartphone to use as a controller.
  • Socially distanced dog-walking, bike-riding, skateboarding. Invite your kids to join you as you #Walk20in20!
  • GoNoodle — Movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts.
  • Sami’s Circuit — Includes different family workouts to be done at home.
  • Have a dance party
  • It’s also effective to offer a challenge—i.e., challenge your kids to do a certain activity XX number of times, or challenge them to do X in XX number of minutes. When I was young, I stayed with my grandparents while my parents went on a big trip. Before they left, my mother said, “If you can jump rope 100 times in a row without missing, we’ll buy you a book.” That kept me practicing—more for the idea of the reward than for the reward itself.

I think it’s great to have lots of options, because it may be nice to do something different all the time, just to get some variety and novelty.

I keep checking to make sure, but as far as I can tell, responsible physical distancing allows us to walk outside, as long as we stay far from other people, cover our coughs and sneezes, and don’t touch anything.

My daughter Eleanor loves nature, and she also loves to explore New York City, so I sent her to Carl Schurz Park, a beautiful park right on the East River, which she hadn’t visited in several years.

I’ve been doing a lot of walking myself, in Central Park. Usually, I go for one long walk a day, and lately I’ve been going twice. I’ve felt restless, so it feels good to work off some of that nervous energy.

I’m so filled with gratitude for this beautiful park—for the far-sighted city planners who created it, for the support of the city and the Central Park Conservancy that keep it so beautiful, and I feel so very, very lucky that it’s within easy walking distance from my apartment. I know that’s not true for many New Yorkers. It’s so huge that it’s easy to stay far from other people.

What tools, games, and ideas are you using to help your kids get some exercise? Of course, us grown-ups need exercise just as much ourselves!



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