To help contain COVID-19, many schools moved children to online learning at home. In addition, many parents are being asked to work from home. These forms of social distancing help slow the spread of the virus and prevent overloading the health care system.
But many families now face new challenges: how do we care for our children while working and schooling at home, and not panic during this unprecedented outbreak? The first step: take a deep breath. Know that we are all in this together. And together we will get through it.
Here are some other tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to help you cope with this “new normal" until the virus is under control.
It may be tempting to get kids together for play dates or sleepovers, but this should be avoided. Social distancing only works if we all participate. And slowing down or preventing the spread of the virus will save lives.
Protect grandparents. This is also not the time to visit grandparents or ask them to help out with child care duties. People who are over age 60 are at higher risk of severe illness with COVID-19 and should not increase that risk by being around children who may be ill with mild symptoms. However, they may feel alone or disconnected during social distancing, so keep up communications through phone calls, texting, or video chats.
Since changes in routine can be stressful, it will be helpful to talk with your kids about why they are staying home and what your daily structure will be during this time. Let them help create a daily schedule that can hang on the refrigerator or somewhere they can see it each day. Be sure to include breaks from tele-work or schoolwork to relax and connect with each other.
Here are some ideas to help you create a daily schedule:
Try not to have the news on all day. It is best not to have the news on while kids are in the room as it can increase their fear and anxiety (and yours!). If they do listen to the news, talk together about what they are hearing and correct any misinformation or rumors you may hear.
While limits are still important, it's understandable that under these stressful circumstances, kids' screen media use will likely increase. Here are some ways to help keep media use positive and helpful:
Staying at home and other social distancing recommendations may feel like an inconvenience, but it's the best way right now to protect our family, friends, and neighbors who may be vulnerable.
If anyone in your home starts showing symptoms of COVID-19, call your doctor to discuss what to do.