We are now several months into the Covid-19 pandemic which has led to a shift in the student learning model, with most children attending online classes. This change has come with some unique challenges for students as the body is re-adjusting to the new way of life. Students may have complaints of back and neck pain due to prolonged hours of online classes and are also likely to face eye problems such as dry, tired and strained eyes due to long hours glued to the computer screen. Here are some tips to help children keep their health at a maximum during this period.
Neck and Back Strength
When attending online classes, a child has the tendency to stay in one position for a very long time. This can add stress to the spine, neck and back muscles as they stay frozen in one position. It is important to use an ergonomically designed chair and desk that is best suited for their height and supports their posture. Keep the lower back supported with pillows.
Every one hour or so, the child must stretch out their muscles and move around a bit to release the tension. Stretch the neck muscles by moving side to side and doing clockwise and anti-clockwise neck rotations. Similarly, stretch the back by doing forward and backward stretches. Children over 15 years can also start doing core workouts to help strengthen their body muscles overall.
For the Eyes
Children start experiencing dry eyes because of staring continuously at the screen without blinking. Keep a post-it reminder or a funny graphic near the screen to remind them to blink regularly. The variations in intensity of light emitting from the screen and blue light will put extra strain on the eyes to constantly readjust. Invest in a pair of blue light glasses or a blue light filter on the screen. Ensure there is sufficient light entering the room to avoid any unwanted stress on the child’s eyes. After every 15-20 minutes, look away from the screen, gently massage the eyes, close the eyes for some time and use cooling pads to help the eyes relax. Natural tears eye drops can be used to treat dry eyes, but it is important for the eyes to replenish and moisturise itself for which regular blinking is important.
Snacking and Hydration
When at home for long hours, children tend to snack more frequently for that additional sugar rush. Parents can think of creative ways to give their kids healthy yet tasty snacks so that they feel full and satiated and do not turn to junk and fried fatty foods. Childhood obesity is a serious problem in our country! Freshly prepared fruit juices, roasted seeds and nuts with chat masala, yoghurt with freshly cut fruits and nuts are great options. A healthy version of multigrain chips, prepared by baking instead of deep-frying is also a better option.
Keeping Active is Important
Sleepless nights spent binge-watching TV shows impact children’s mood and ability to concentrate in the day. Ensure that they burn out their energy with some games such as badminton, and table tennis which does not need contact. Digital games which make the child use their body which can played on Playstation or Xbox is another option to keep them active. Exercise also releases endorphins which will help to regulate their mood, as parents are also seeing mood swings and outbursts in their children.
Simple changes can go a long way in improving a child’s health and concentration power as they try to navigate through the new way of living. The lockdown is hard for everyone so we must find new and creative ways to keep ourselves healthy and motivated to stay on track with our goals!