Coronavirus & Children: How to Help Children During the COVID-19 Crisis
The COVID-19 outbreak is interrupting the lives and routines of families across the world. And if you are a parent, this moment in time can feel very overwhelming.
Turning to the CDC for advice, here are some practical tips for parents looking after children through the COVID-19 crisis.
Understand the Common Symptoms in Children
Understanding the common symptoms that children experience when they have COVID-19 is critical for not only getting them the right medical care, but also for preventing the spread of the virus to others.
For children, common symptoms are very similar to those of the common cold. This includes:
· Runny nose
While the majority of children will not be at a greater risk for severe illness if they contract COVID-19, those with underlying health conditions may be.
If your child is experiencing flu-like symptoms, it is very important to keep them at home and isolated from others. If symptoms escalate, then it is time to speak with a medical professional.
Practice Good Hygiene at Home
Good hygiene at home is vital in preventing you and your family from getting sick. Make sure that everyone living in your household washes their hands frequently – especially before leaving and upon arrival to the home.
Additionally, all surfaces throughout the home should be cleaned and disinfected daily. You may also want to wash linens, clothes, and plush toys more often than normal.
Take Social Distancing Seriously
Social distancing advice should be taken very seriously. That means no more playdates, visits to extended family members, and you should only leave the house when absolutely necessary.
Considering the elderly are especially at risk of severe symptoms if they contract COVID-19, children should never visit older relatives, friends, or neighbors in person.
If you do need to take your child outside to a supermarket or for a walk, the CDC recommends that all children over the age of 2 wear a face covering or mask. You should also keep a 6 ft distance between yourselves and others.
Prioritize Learning AND Having Fun
You may find yourself in a position where you now must home-school your child. However, try to strike a balance between learning and having fun.
Kids are not used to being cooped up in the house all day, so try to allow them a generous amount of time to play outdoors. This could be going for a bike ride, playing in the backyard, or going for a walk.
Additionally, try to take advantage of any distance learning resources offered by your school. If you are frustrated or having difficulties, be proactive and communicate this with your child’s teacher or principal.
One of the best ways to strike a balance between learning, relaxation, and fun is to create a routine and stick with it.
Be Considerate of Mental Health
This is stressful times for all of us – and children can become fearful, stressed, or worried just like adults.
Be considerate of your child’s mental health and watch out for any changes in their sleeping patters or attention span. You should also look out for any indications that they are excessively worried.
Be honest with your child, answer any questions, and reassure them that they are safe at home with you.
Don’t Forget – Frequent and Thorough Hand Washing is a Must
This cannot be stressed enough: both you and your child need to wash your hands thoroughly and often. Even if it feels excessive – it’s not!
The CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time. This is even more important if you or your child leaves the home and goes out in public. To make this fun, you can sing songs to pass the time or teach younger children how to count to 20.
Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is not considered medical advice. If you are looking for official guidance regarding COVID-19, please visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov. Additionally, please be aware that while the information presented in this article was correct at the time, the official guidance may change. Please refer back to the CDC website for the latest information and guidance.