Children likely will not take, or cannot take, the necessary steps to protect themselves in the face of a public health emergency. Stress from significant disruptions to their lives from the shelter-in-place orders and other side effects of COVID-19 could cause a variety of problems for your kids. You should still strive to afford your children all protection possible. Consider the steps below to ensure your child’s physical and mental health.
Set A Schedule
Child experts strongly recommend enforcing a schedule during the pandemic’s forced school and camp closures. Continue already set bedtimes and morning wake times for your children. Keep a program during the day, including times for learning and times for play. Post the schedule in an easily accessible spot so the children can access it. Leave no excuses for non-compliance.
Break The Monotony
Shelter-in-place orders severely limit kids’ opportunities for play and socialization. Organized team sports, music lessons, and other opportunities for interactions vanish. The number of friends with whom they can play diminishes.
Try to bring new activities to the family. Go for walks around the neighborhood or a local park. Try playing online games with your kids — a Harry Potter virtual escape room exists online (if you know the magic word you can find it). Think about the activities you enjoyed as a kid, before the age of screens. If you are young enough not to remember childhood before screens, ask your parents for tips. Anything different and fun will help ease the boredom brought on by shelter-in-place.
Keep Them Away From The News
Limit their ability to access the news or to hear your discussions of press reports. Given the negative slant and sensationalistic leanings of the media (on both sides), kids’ access to the news should come from you in a filtered and measured way designed to keep their anxiety in check. They will feed off of your energy. Stay positive around them.
Make sure they wash their hands before meals, after using the restroom, and when coming home from everywhere. Preach the importance of soap and water and the wisdom of hand sanitizer as an acceptable substitute. If old enough to wear a mask, teach them how to wear it properly and have fun with the mask.[Click Here to buy Kids size face masks]
Make Plans For The Future
Did your vacation cancel due to COVID-19? Enlist the kids’ help in making new plans. Of course, any new vacation plans will have to occur far enough out to allow states time to reopen, but you can give them something on which to focus.
Make shorter-term plans as well. What restaurant will you visit first when they reopen? Which park will you go to first?
Above all, make sure that you stay tuned into the kids. They will give you clues for making sure that they come through this period with a minimum of stress and remember how much fun they had when COVID-19 canceled school.