How to create a healthy lifestyle for kids during the summer amid COVID-19 concerns

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DENVER (KDVR) — This summer could pose even more challenges for parents with so many of the kids’ activities on hold due to the pandemic.

“I think it’s going to be a challenge,” a mother of three said at Denver’s Washington Park.

Many camps and classes are canceled or changed due to the virus. For some kids, all of this change could lead to anxiety, overeating or behavior issues.

Dr. Richard Boles, a pediatric psychologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado, says it’s important to create structure and routines, starting with sleep. Establish a set bed time and wake time.

“There is really good data to show that this can have an impact, when sleep is disrupted or short, that they tend to eat more poorly, their behavior may be more negative, and they just have more difficulty during the day. So, having a set bed time and wake time is probably the first goal,” Boles said. 

Next, Boles says to set times for meals and snacks, so the kids know when and what they are eating.

Schedule time during the day for physical activity, preferably outside.

Also, limit screen time, knowing that kids could be more anxious this summer.

“For any kids that already have difficulty with managing their mood, or behavior, or difficulty with managing their weight, we know that they are already at greater risk for this summer to continue to have more problems,” Boles said.

So, it’s important, Boles said, to check in with your kids and ask them how they are doing. Setting a good example with food, exercise and sleep can be helpful as well.

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