For many weeks (which seem like forever!), most families in our community have been sheltering together at home. Parents are stressed, kids are bored, battles are won and lost, and “bed heads” and pajamas are the new normal. The daily routine of virtually every family has changed dramatically. Parents, especially those who are working from home with school-age kids, are uniquely challenged to create and maintain an orderly, healthy environment that meets the needs of the entire family. Success requires the artful management of work, play, schoolwork, household chores, nutrition and hygiene.
It is safe to say that life has given us a bushel of lemons. So, what is the metaphorical “lemonade” we get from all these lemons? TIME. Specifically, we have been given the gift of family time. We have time to plan creative play and crafts for our children, to prepare meals and snacks that are nutritionally and dentally healthy, and to reinforce good dental hygiene habits.
Homemade meals are lower in fat, sodium and sugar than frozen or packaged prepared meals. And meals made with fresh ingredients afford parents far greater dietary control. Parents can also monitor snacking throughout the day, and offer healthy snacks with no added sugar or corn syrup. Some such tasty treats include fresh fruits, fruit and yogurt smoothies, homemade trail mix with nuts, raisins and granola, and celery and carrot sticks with cream cheese or ranch dressing.
These healthy meal and snack suggestions are also dentally beneficial. They are low in cavity-forming sugars, high in essential vitamins, and high in dietary fiber that actually helps to clean our teeth as we chew.
With access to dental care currently limited to emergency care only, it’s especially important to use this time to reinforce good dental hygiene habits with our kids. Parents have an opportunity to establish or re-establish a solid oral hygiene routine:
1. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice daily: after break fast and before bed, for two minutes each time.
2. After eating a sugary treat, kids should brush again.
3. Flossing once each day. (By age 8, children should have this skill.)
For the rest of their lives, our children will remember this crisis and how it affected their family, home life, school and local community. Let’s do our best to keep them healthy, and leave them with only the most positive memories.For the rest of their lives, our children will remember this crisis and how it affected their family, home life, school and local community. Let’s do our best to keep them healthy, and leave them with only the most positive memories.
P.S. Recipe for Healthy 3-Ingredient Lemonade:
Juice of 5 fresh lemons
1/3 cup honey or other vegan honey substitute
4 cups cold water (or sparkling water if desired)
Combine all ingredients.
Serve with ice & lemon wedges.