With students and parents cooped up for the majority of the day, conflict is inevitable. We want to encourage students to mimic the school schedule as much as possible not only for their academic performance but also for their overall wellbeing. Activity is a crucial part of both child and adolescent development. In fact, the CDC recommends one hour of activity per day for students between the ages of six and seventeen. However, studies show that less than 25% of children in the United States meet this requirement. Especially during this remote learning, parents need to find ways to keep students active at home.
Activity and exercise have a plethora of benefits for students. Increased immunity, proper brain function, increased levels of serotonin and dopamine are just a few of the ways exercise can help students thrive. The key to maintaining a healthy amount of physical activity is a schedule. We suggest having a previously agreed upon schedule with your students that accounts for all of the healthy habits and routines from our other blog posts. We love written schedules. Try to create a daily schedule for your student that keeps them active from about 9am until 3pm to mimic the school day, but remember that all of this time doesn’t have to be spent on academic subjects. A healthy balance of school material, fun material, and physical exercise can help students keep their momentum going. Here are five ways to keep students active at home:
Incorporate Movement into Learning
When students are at school, movement is part of the daily routine. Students go from classroom to classroom, they get up to turn papers in, or they walk to the teacher’s desk to ask a question. With at home learning, there is a tendency for students to remain sedentary. By incorporating movement into a student’s learning routine, we can increase overall activity for the day. For example, assign school work types as “as standing only tasks”. This list could include organizing a binder, reading from a textbook, or submitting an assignment virtually. Every time the student needs to do one of these tasks, they should stand up. For younger students, help guide them to make learning more active. Ask them to demonstrate certain concepts while standing up or to “act out” something they learned that day.
Make Family Fitness Challenges
Make fitness a family activity! Fitness challenges are all the rage right now, as organizations and individuals alike must adapt their routine to changing circumstances. Certain fitness challenges like the “see 10, do 10, send 10” push-up challenge have gone viral. One easy way to increase activity within your household is to create a fitness challenge for the day or the week to keep your family active. Check out this post for more information.
Gamification works. The easiest way to help your students stay active during COVID-19 is to make fitness fun. There are a plethora of both indoor and outdoor games to get you and your family moving. Check out this post about games that help students develop EF skills or this article for games to play at home.
Establish a Break Time Routine
Inject some movement during break time. We encourage students to take short breaks often to recharge the brain. Using timers, help your student create a break time ritual that keeps him or her active. For example, every time the timer goes off for a break students should do one the following: walk to the kitchen for a glass of water, go for a short walk outside, do ten repetitions of their favorite exercise, or play fetch with the dog in the backyard. Establish a routine like this guarantees activity throughout the day.
Lead by Example
The best way to help your students stay active during this time is to lead by example. Most people are working from home right now. Try adopting some of the principles into your work routine to see if your student follows suit. Encourage older siblings to adopt these strategies as well. Students, especially younger ones, like to model behaviors of the people they look up to, which means leading by example and staying active has all the impact in the world.
We hope this helps your family stay active during this new normal. We are here to help! Please check out our other blog posts or head over to our services page to get started with an academic coach!