Keeping Kids Active in the New Year

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted team sports and fitness centers, limiting many options for physical activity. Winter weather can also make it a challenge for children to get the recommended amount of daily exercise.

The beginning of a new year is a great time to focus on physical activity for the entire family. Regular physical activity has many benefits for overall health. Exercise can improve sleep, help with concentration, and reduce stress. Exercise has also been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancers.

To stay healthy, children should be physically active for at least 60 minutes every day. Keep in mind that these minutes do not have to be completed all at once and can be broken down into smaller periods throughout the day.

There are many ways to incorporate exercise into your family’s daily routine:

  • There is an ever-increasing amount of virtual exercise options available online. GoNoodle, Cosmic Kids Yoga, and Get Moving with Disney Family are all engaging ways to get kids excited about exercising. Both the YMCA and YouTube have free online workout videos. With so many choices, you’re sure to find something that interests everyone in your family.
  • A daily walk (if the weather allows) is a great way to stay active and get out of the house while also practicing social distancing. In winter, snowball fights and sledding can be a fun way to get moving.
  • At home, families can be active together by having a dance party or playing a game of tag. Yardwork and household chores can also count as physical activity.

The most important thing to remember is to be creative and have fun! If exercise is enjoyable, it will be much easier to make it a regular part of your family’s routine.

by Autumn Barbero, ARNP, Certified Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Proper Sanitation Techniques

Proper and safe sanitation is necessary for health. There are many ways to keep the surfaces and items you utilize on a daily basis sanitized. From cleaning and disinfecting, laundering, and properly washing your hands, maintaining safe sanitation can seem more complicated than it actually is.

While it may seem like a thoughtless task you do, most people do not wash their hands correctly. Washing your hands should be done after the following times;

  • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After using the restroom
  • Before eating or preparing food
  • After contact with animals or pets
  • Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g. a child)

To properly wash your hands, use warm water and soap for 20 seconds. Remember to focus on the back of your hands, your fingernails, and all the way to the wrist to ensure maximum cleanliness. If you cannot wash your hands, you can use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. When using hand sanitizer be sure to follow the 20-second rule as well and rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands. Be sure to avoid touching your faces if your hands are not washed.

Cleaning refers to the removal of germs and dirt, whereas disinfecting refers to using chemicals to kill germs. While cleaning does not kill germs, it lowers the possibility of germs spreading by removing them from surfaces. Surfaces that are frequently touched should be cleaned on a regular basis. These surfaces include tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. To properly clean a surface use warm water and soap.

To correctly disinfect and area you can use a diluted household bleach solution, an alcohol-based solution with at least 70% alcohol, household cleaners, or you can create your own bleach solution. To make your own bleach solution you can mix 5 tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water. When disinfecting, remember to keep the surface wet for several minutes with the disinfectant solution for several minutes to ensure germs are killed. If someone in your household is expected to have a virus or infection, frequently touched surfaces should be disinfected on a daily basis.

For soft surfaces and other items such as clothing, towels, and linens, be sure to launder items as possible. Dirty laundry from a person who is sick can be washed with other items. Be sure to clean and disinfect your hampers as well. For items that cannot be put in the laundry, clean using soap and water or with the appropriate cleaners.

If someone in your house has an illness be sure to use disposable gloves when cleaning and dealing with infected items. Proper sanitation techniques can help prevent illnesses and germs from spreading to you and your loved ones.

by Mike Cardenas, Marketing Specialist

Become a pro at working from home!

During these unusual times, here are a few tips and tricks to help you have a productive and successful day working from home.

Keep your morning routine. 

Continue to get up at your normal time, get ready, eat breakfast, etc.  This will help get you mentally prepped to “head to work”. 

Set up a dedicated workspace. 

Do your best to mimic your current work conditions.  A desk, supportive chair, monitors, etc.  Try to make sure that if you can, keep your workspace outside of areas of relaxation in your home such as your bedroom or living room.  Keeping that mental divide will help set your pace for remoting into the office.  Be sure to communicate expectations of your work area to others in your home.  Except your beloved fur babies – they are great co-workers!

Set your work schedule.

Once you and your supervisor have determined what your schedule will look like, only work within those hours.  It is important to maintain a healthy work/life balance. 

Take breaks.

When you are at work, you are not working 100% of the time.  Take time to stretch every hour.  Look out a window.  If you can, get some fresh air! Exercise is a great activity for your total wellbeing.   Just remember to take your breaks and lunch away from your computer. 

Keep in frequent touch with your department. 

With many telecommuting, it is easy to forget to connect with others.  Say good morning (via Skype) as you normally would in person.  Call to chat about projects.  Department meetings or touchbases are easily set up using Skype or Zoom.  There are many options to keep you connected with coworkers.  

Over communicate.  

Since you are working from home, it is harder for others to be aware of your plans, projects, location, and schedule.  Consider opening up your calendar to others and keep your calendar updated with times you are available.  Schedule your break times.  Update your Skype status.  

Put on some background noise.   

Let’s be honest, in the office we are surrounded by background noise and conversations.  It is probably weirder to work in silence.  There are many music-streaming platforms are highly aware of the surge of work from home and have graciously put together some great playlists for our listening pleasure.  If music isn’t your jam, you can turn on a podcast or put a show on for back ground noise. 

Most importantly – remain positive!

As the mantra goes, this too shall pass! 

Resources and Support:

Linkedin is offering a class on remote working.  It has 16 sections with information ranging from time management, video conferencing, and how to use both Zoom and Skype.

For anyone who is working from home with children, here are some tips from CNBC to get you by.

by Stefanie Sproule, Administrative Services Project Manager