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It goes without saying that we all want our children and grandchildren to be as healthy a possible.  Afterall, we are so emotionally entwined with our families that we cannot begin to imagine facing any sort of compromised wellbeing. 

So let’s start by looking at the physical side of things.  Children generally have endless supplies of energy and enthusiasm for anything physical that grabs their attention.  In fact, they can normally out do any adult when it comes to endurance for a fun game.  Families have found themselves having to be more inventive since the start of this awful pandemic we find ourselves entrenched in, just for the sake of variety we’ve made a few suggestions below.

Games such as leap frog and egg and spoon cost nothing and yet can be played either inside or out.  Any hard boiled eggs can be eaten for tea or saved for another day to decorate up in a craft session.  Sack races in the garden are great energy drainers and are fantastic not only for aerobic exercise but great for belly laughing too.

These games also create an opportunity to be fun and creative at the same time as doing things together as a group or splitting into teams for a little bit of fun competition. Hoopla is a game for all ages and bean bag throwing can easily be created using scraps of material, an elastic band and dried beans or rice. 

If you are lucky enough to have a garden, then you could plan a stay-cation for the day.  Be as inventive as you like, put up a tent if you have one and let the children re-create a world – pretending they are away on holiday for example.  If you are feeling really adventurous, maybe consider a night under the stars. 

Alternatively give the open spaces on your doorstep a try – take plenty of water, suncream and handgel with you and go and visit local areas. It’s really surprising what facilities are available to us and we have often missed out by not engaging with them. If you’re fancying a little treat whilst you’re out, try seeking out the small independent coffee shop.  Support local and tell all of your friends about the little gem that you have found so that they give it a try too!

Adolescence can be a very scary time.  All those hormones whirring can very quickly convert a small, adorable, well-mannered person in to a grumpy, volatile teenager! Take a deep breath, always wear a big smile and try not to be judgmental.  They cannot help it – this journey is right of passage but that’s no consolation to frazzled, work tired parents! There’s absolutely no shame is reaching out for help. Ask grandparents, aunts and uncles or even your closes friends if they’re interested in a day trip out just to offer a brief reprieve to both yourself and the kids! It could be the little injection of space and atmosphere that you need to act as a small reset.

Suggest practicing mindfulness together.  Even try a little yoga with them if you can.  Take an interest in their interests – do a bit of reading up on the internet so you have some common ground.  They will like the fact that you are interested and their mates will be amazed at how trendy you are knowing cool stuff. 

Sleep is very important at all stages of life but particularly at times of big physical change.  If you are financially able why not contribute towards a bedroom make over to help their personal space feel a bit more grown up.  This is a chance to go shopping together to look for good bits – a chance for a lunch together too. Children of all ages often play up when they feel the world around them isn’t noticing them so to help avoid this make sure you do just that.

Encourage healthy eating for healthy bodies and minds, and build in exercise.  There is nothing like a bit of physical exertion to let out unwanted hormone hell!  Girls in particular can have a hard time with the onset of periods.  Make sure they are always prepared and have access to feminine products.  Dark underwear is a must to avoid any giveaway tell tale signs when getting ready for PE at school. Don’t let extreme periods pains go undealt with – talk to the GP – there is lots of help available and no need to suffer in silence.  Support your loved one by explaining how natural highs and lows of hormones can make you feel rubbish but reassure it is only temporary.  Tiredness can become an issue so if a good diet regime is already in place then maybe think about supplementing.

No matter what they are feeling, however extreme, whether happy or sad, always leave them feeling you are there for them.  Life is about not avoiding the storm but learning to dance in the rain, you can do well to remember that and another piece of advice – everything is always ok in the end, if it is not ok – it is not the end. That way, hopefully, everything will be great all round.

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