This fall, we are heading into an unknown future with the COVID-19 virus. While some schools are doing their best to reopen, other schools and some parents have decided that it is best for children to stay home, at least for now. As adults, we know how to social distance, wash our hands and do what we can to minimize our risk of infection, but these methods are more difficult to enforce with children and adolescents. Whether your kids go back to school in the fall or not, here are some things you can do to keep them healthy.
Talk to your doctor and school: If your child has an underlying illness, it may make sense for them to do distance learning or take extra precautions at school. Talk to your child's doctor if you have any questions about their risk and follow up with school staff to find out what types of accommodation are available.
Practice social distancing: Young children in particular will need help learning and remembering to keep a safe distance. Consider giving them a visual representation, like a piece of string, and making an exercise game, both at home and when you are out.
Share "why": It is extremely important that you educate your children in an age-appropriate way about why it is important to practice good hygiene and social distance. Make sure they understand that COVID-1
Demonstrate proper hand washing: Wash your hands with your children to show them how to do it and make sure they do it properly. View a list of important times to wash and model it yourself.
Packaging accessories: Make sure your child has wet wipes, hand cleaners, spare worms and other necessities to stay clean and hygienic if they go out into the world without supervision.
Monitor: If there is a high-risk person in your home and you are not comfortable with the increased risk of letting your child navigate the world of COVID-19 on your own, do not be afraid to keep your children close or at home for a while.
Play outside: It is possible to give your children a relatively normal social experience if you stay outside and stay at a safe distance or wear masks. Meet in a park, host a backyard garden or meet in a local watering hole to help your children stay mentally and emotionally while keeping them physically safe.
Keep your social circle small: Keeping a tight social circle can lower your family's risk of getting sick, and if someone gets sick, it can help contain the disease in your community. Limit the number of friends and family members you interact with regularly and do not hang out with large groups.
Realize with teenagers: In some communities, young people are among the fastest growing groups contracting COVID-19. Although young people are less likely to become extremely ill or die from COVID-19 (although this is not unknown), they should know that they can help spread the virus. Give your teens clear guidelines for their behavior during the pandemic, and let them know that seeing their friends and family and getting involved in ordinary life as much as possible is because they are also doing their part.
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