We are experiencing truly unprecedented times right now as a result of COVID-19. Parents are experiencing a degree of difficulties ranging from being laid off at work to kids being homeschooled and being forced to work from home. These newfound struggles are placing significant stress on parents — affecting them financially, physically, mentally and spiritually. These changes have occurred suddenly, forcing parents to have to adapt to the new set of circumstances extremely quickly.
In addition to dealing with the major changes in their own lives, it is a parent’s duty to be there for their children now more than ever. They are used to having their kids go to school while they go to work, then everybody gets home to eat dinner together as a family. That has been “America’s past time,” which is now being replaced by a mixture of zoom meetings and attempting to be their child’s full-time third grade teacher, when they are not exactly qualified to do so. This is leaving many parents frustrated, anxious, and confused.
There are several techniques parents can use now to boost their own health in order to push through these challenging times and be there for their children in the process. It is extremely important for parents to maintain a positive outlook on the situation and share with their children that all of these changes to daily life are only temporary.
Children observe their parents and absorb the energy they are emitting in response to any given situation. For example, when parents argue in front of their children and raise their voices, children tend to observe that style of communication and perceive that to be the best way to handle that situation. This is exactly what primes the child’s brain to learn how to live life and handle these same scenarios when they experience them later on in life, so it is important to set the right example.
Another very important tool that will help families maintain their mental and physical health during this time is nutrition. Since everybody is at home, it is the perfect time to make a regular habit of cooking and experimenting with different recipes. Feeding a healthy diet to children is what will ultimately determine the health of their brain and body long-term. Of course, there are many factors that influence our health, but parents are able to control what they feed their children. If parents choose to feed their children sugary and fatty foods, the child is more likely to experience negative effects on their brain and behavior.
Parents can make cooking fun by having their children help out in the kitchen when they are making food. This is a great way to bond with children and teach them how to cook food for themselves later on in life. It is extremely therapeutic because children are able to take pride in the fact that they helped cook the food they are consuming. It engages the child’s brain in a creative way to experiment with different healthy foods to create new dishes.
A diet based in fruits, vegetables, healthy whole grains and consistent sources of protein are crucial for the healthy development of a child’s brain. When shopping at the grocery store, it is important to stick to the outside of the store and avoid the aisles when possible, because the aisles tend to be filled with canned/packaged foods that are loaded with preservatives.
This is the perfect time for parents to take charge of both theirs and their children’s health. Eating a balanced diet and cooking the food we eat will help to create a daily routine that is based around nourishing the mind, body, and spirit.
— By Aneesh Chaudhry, founder of SoulPhysio Lifestyle, a brain health clinic and integrative healthcare network, where he, along with a team of physicians, psychologists and other health care professionals, works to improve mental and physical wellness through lifestyle modification that addresses the mind, body, and spirit. Chaudhry is also a Corporate Wellness Consultant who has been working in the field of health and wellness for more than eight years. Based out of Orange County, Calif., Chaudhry and his team specialize in the utilization of treatments that combine both Eastern and Western Medical techniques.