The Paediatrician Parents’ Guide To A Happy Family Life Under MCO In Malaysia
As the MCO in Malaysia continues (now almost 50 days), families are already feeling the stress of the situation.
Stemming from being confined to your homes, the stress of having your children with you the whole day, needing attention, the stress of not having your own personal space, being physically less active and the financial burden of the whole lockdown process.
Whilst some things cannot be changed, you might as well make the whole lockdown experience as happy one.
Here, I will discuss how to improve your family’s physical, psychological and mental well-being.
Communication is the bedrock of any happy family. Since you are cooped up together, it’s the time to have conversations with one another, when at other times we are too busy with our work, whilst the kids are busy with school etc.
With time aplenty, be patient to enquire and listen to your children, discover each other interests, plan for exciting things you can do together, be it games, cooking, projects on house improvement, exercise or even performances, making sure everyone’s interest and thoughts are accounted for. You could even have someone in charge for the day, to decide and plan what you do as a family for that day (within reason). That gives everyone a sense of responsibility and for your kids, an opportunity to gain some leadership skills.
Healthy Nutrition when there is less physical activity, will help everyone to feel less lethargic and avoid piling on the weight.
First of all, everyone should have adequate water intake. Water is best, taking fruit juices or any other drinks such as Milo, has unnecessary additional sugar. Hydration will keep you more vitalized too. Water is important in ensuring both your urinary system and your bowels functions optimally. If you do any physical activities do take more fluid.
Sugars are more palatable and are known to enhance one’s moods, hence we are attracted to carbohydrate based food such as sweets, cakes, breads/pastries and rice. Food provides the energy for us to function and carbohydrates are the easiest source of energy. However, if there is excess of energy that’s not burnt, it will be converted to fat and stored, mostly around our waistline. Its’ so easy to put on but so much harder to get rid of, that’s the same for your kids.
Instead, have more fiber in the form of fruits, for their snacking outside their main meals. Also increase the fiber in the form of vegetables with their meals, at the same time reduce the portion of the carbs (rice or noodles etc) that they normally have. With less activities, the increased intake of fiber and water will avoid constipation. Many fruits contain vitamin C, which helps keep the immune system strong, to avoid infections.
Screen time, whether it’s the TV, computer or personal devices, is addictive. Not only is there social disassociation from everyone around whilst they use any devices, the health implication is that they are immobile, and the screens put strain on their eyes.
Parents should set limits on daily use of any devices. Maybe limit them to one or two hours as a maximum per day, and the rest of their waking time, they are engaged with people. If possible these devices should have blue light protection on the screen to protect their eyes. Children should also be allowed to play by themselves without any devices. If the kids are doing online schooling at home, they will already be exposed to a lot of screen time, so do take this into consideration as to how much more time you would allow them.
Fresh Air & Activities
Fresh air and activities, is what your kids require regularly, and what they miss at normal times when they get to run around in the parks. Get the morning air in , with your windows open and it will allow for good air circulation and psychologically everyone would feel more alive.
If you have space outdoors try some outdoor games or exercises together. Come up with fun family activities together, with gardening, movie nights, games or even cooking.
Here is a list of other activities your could try with your kids:
- Painting and coloring
- Science experiments
- Performances on a “stage”
- Story telling
- Magic shows
- Or doing some exercises together.
Here are some exercise videos on YouTube, that my 4 year old daughter and I enjoy following.
There is light at the end of this tunnel, whilst we are travelling through our family happiness and well-being is our priority. Let’s also pray the world recovers well from this.