As mobility eased and the threat of the coronavirus became more manageable, the Department of Education recently mandated schools to prepare for full-on face-to-face classes by November 2022. This comes after more than two years of distance learning due to restrictions resulting from the pandemic. Teachers and parents alike adapted to take on bigger roles to ensure that school-age children were able to attend to daily lessons and corresponding assignments at home.
With this directive, however, comes a new set of changes for Filipino families as their households once again adjust to a back-to-school routine. To help with this, Nestlé Wellness Campus (NWC), the flagship advocacy program of Nestlé Philippines for nutrition education, shares the three Fs – Feelings, Food, Fun – to guide parents as they take on a new assignment of their own: preparing children mentally, physically and emotionally for face-to-face classes.
- Feelings. “Parents must open the communication lines with their children,” said Karina Crisostomo, a faculty member of the Counseling and Educational Psychology Department in De La Salle University. “It’s important for parents to ask, know and understand how their children feel about going back to school,” adding that this will help them in addressing any anxiety that the youngsters may have, while also trying to explain the benefits of attending onsite classes.
It’s equally important for parents to reiterate facts about COVID-19. By instilling the importance of proper hand washing, physical distancing, and wearing of masks indoors, students will be able to feel safe as they leave the confines of their home. “How we communicate and explain these to our children are very important as we move to more face-to-face activities,” she added.
- Food. As a parent herself, Crisostomo reiterated the importance of a nutritious breakfast and how it can set the stage for a great day ahead. “I always make it a point to serve breakfast and ensure that no one in our household leaves without having this most important meal of the day,” she emphasized.
Mornings can be busy and rushed, and getting kids to eat breakfast can be challenging at times. However, giving them a delicious and nutritious breakfast is possible with a bowl of whole grain cereal and milk. Cereals like Koko Krunch not only contain essential nutrients to kickstart their day right, but it also has the chocolatey taste that kids have come to love over the years. Based on the Recommended Energy and Nutrient Intake1, one serving of Koko Krunch already provides 38% of iron and about 60% of Vitamins B2, B3 and B6 per 30g serving. This can help them develop a good breakfast habit, while building on their excitement for a fun day in school.
Baon is also making a comeback and parents need to plan this ahead. Students will likely lose interest and attention in school activities when they are hungry, according to Crisostomo. As such, snacks are important to keep them focused in class and energized for play. Parents can even incorporate healthier choices by adding lettuce or tomatoes in sandwiches or prepare rice meals, fruits and veggies should their children want to eat more during recess.
1Iron, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, and vitamin B6 percentage is based on the Recommended Energy and Nutrient Intakes (RENI) per 30g serving. This Percent RENI value is based on FNRI reference child requirement of 7-9 years old (RENI, 2002).
- Fun. Being in isolation for much of the pandemic has made students, especially the younger ones, forget what it was like to be with people outside their immediate family, explained Crisostomo. That also meant missing their friends and playing together like they used to. Parents can take this opportunity to explain and remind their children that going back to school can be twice as fun with their friends around. Not only will they get to see their buddies again, they will also gain new friends this school year.
“Families will need to re-establish a routine at home,” Crisostomo said. This includes meal times, setting aside time for homework as well as a target bedtime for kids, especially those who need to get up early for school the next day.
As the Kasambuhay sa Kalusugan of Filipinos, Nestlé Philippines understands the need to support parents as they prioritize the health and wellness of their children who are returning to school this year. According to Kevin Carpio, Nestlé Wellness Campus Program Lead, parents can join the NWC Parents’ Facebook Community for additional guidance and tips in transitioning to face-to-face learning.
“Returning to school can be an exciting albeit anxious time for students. But with proper guidance and support from their parents and the Nestlé Wellness Campus, we can work together to ensure that the children are best prepared to adjust to the return of onsite classes. By living out the 7 Healthy Habits, students and their families can look forward to a happy, healthy and learning-filled school year,” Carpio said.