Table of Contents
- 8 Useful Things to Teach Children to Reduce the Spread of Germs
- Encourage Kids in Continual Learning
- How to Keep Kids Healthy
- Special Considerations for Pregnant Women & Parents of Infants
- Frequently Asked Questions
- The Final Word
Coronavirus seems to be the prevailing topic in 2020, so it’s a good idea to educate oneself about the symptoms and warning signs, as well as preventative measures. Below are the telltale symptoms of the virus.
Who Is at Risk?
The good news about COVID-19 is that children are not a high-risk group. That said, certain people are more susceptible to getting sick from the virus. Keep in mind that children can get ill, but their symptoms will most likely be mild.
- The elderly
- People with compromised/weakened immune systems
- Those who have pre-existing health conditions
Talking to Your Kids About the Coronavirus
It’s hard to talk to children about sickness and health, but the coronavirus affects everyone, not just adults. There might even be someone in the family who is or will deal with the virus.
It’s better to address the topic with children before their fears and anxieties start to get out of hand. This way, mom and dad can show their little ones that they care and that they’re doing everything possible to keep them safe. Here are some tips on how to start the conversation.
- Stay calm. Don’t give in to panic or a fear-based mindset. Use reassuring language while staying honest.
- Be prepared for your kids’ questions. They may have heard rumors through school, friends, or the Internet, so staying patient is important. It might be helpful to talk about the safety policy proposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Reassure them. Stick to the facts and follow the public safety guidelines. Explain that the illness is very mild in children who get it.
- Set guidelines. Limit the number of information kids can see or hear on the media. Focus more on at-home activities like exercise, learning, arts and crafts, and time outside.
- Educate children. Teach them how to properly wash their hands and practice social distancing. Give them a sense of control by reminding them that they are in charge of their health and safety.
8 Useful Things to Teach Children to Reduce the Spread of Germs
Children are, no doubt, going to have questions about COVID-19. This is a virus that has disrupted their daily routines and normal lives. Here’s how to care for kids while teaching them preventative measures.
1. Wash Hands Properly
It may be a boring subject to children, but proper hand-washing is crucial in the fight against this illness. Teach children how to thoroughly scrub their hands using soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Remind them to wash up regularly, especially before eating.
2. Wipe Down Surfaces Daily
Family members should get kids involved in cleaning up the home by having them wipe down surfaces. Have them help with things like spraying disinfectant on the countertops and tables. This can give them a sense of control in an otherwise strange moment.
3. Cough or Sneeze Into an Elbow
People are going to be sneezing and coughing a lot. Be sure to explain to children that they should do this into the crook of their elbow rather than into their hands. Talk to them about how people are getting sick because they’re spreading germs on their hands.
4. Practice Social Distancing
Yes, kids have probably heard the term “social distancing” enough already, but it’s one of the top ways to fight this illness. Explain to them what it is and why it’s so important. Be sure to mention that this doesn’t mean they can’t go outside or talk to friends via phone.
5. Limit Meetings With Friends
Most places are on lockdown right now. It can be tempting to send children off to play with friends, but this is the time to stay home and practice social distancing. Allow kids to video chat or call their friends, but forego playdates for now.
6. Avoid Touching Surfaces Outside
Just because people are practicing social distancing, this doesn’t mean children and family members can’t go outside. Just maintain a safe distance from each other and make sure children stay off of playground equipment. Instead, try alternatives like walking around the block and going on hikes.
7. Don’t Share Personal Items
This is one of those rare instances when it’s okay to be selfish. Remind kids that they should keep their belongings to themselves and avoid sharing drinks or gadgets. Reinforce positive health and hygiene habits by having them wipe down electronics and toys every day.
8. Don’t Touch Eyes, Mouth, Nose
Finally, remind children to avoid touching their face. This is something that lots of people can have trouble with, so try wearing a scarf or bandanna around the face. This can serve as a reminder to keep hands away from the mouth.
Encourage Kids in Continual Learning
For lots of children, it’s been over three weeks since they’ve attended classes. Having rambunctious kids at home all day can drive the family crazy, so be sure to have a plan. Here are some ways to keep them engaged and learning new information.
1. Stay Connected to Your Children's School
In some cases, teachers are passing on class information via virtual lessons or interactive online activities. This may depend on the child’s age and learning ability, but they may be able to use a phone or the computer to read some material or watch educational videos.
To be fair, some children may come from a family that doesn’t have access to technology, so guardians should communicate these challenges to the teacher via email.
2. Create a Flexible Learning Routine
It’s hard to learn (and teach) at home, so parents should be gentle with themselves. That said, creating a routine, at least Monday through Friday can be a huge help. Follow some of these ideas:
- Set routines for learning, breaks, snacks, and free time
- Try e-learning websites and at-home science experiments
- Pop on a YouTube art lesson
- Contact the teacher for additional resources that can help kids maintain some type of education while staying at home.
3. Be Mindful of Your Kid’s Age
This can be difficult for parents that have children of different ages. A kindergartener is going to have a unique lesson plan from a high-schooler. Consider these tips:
- Try to gather information from their respective teachers
- Take into account things like socializing and technological difficulties
- Have an honest conversation with them about expectations versus reality
- Explain that while education is important, taking care of mental wellness is also crucial
4. Make Education Fun
When in doubt, have fun with it. Lessons at home are going to be drastically different from those in the classroom, so embrace that. This is a chance to be more hands-on and to listen to what children are actually interested in, rather than what they’re forced to learn.
- Practice writing skills by drafting letters to friends
- Explore fractions while prepping and cooking dinner
- Let their creativity shine through arts and crafts
How to Keep Kids Healthy
The news of COVID-19 can be scary for anyone, especially caretakers and guardians. No one wants their child to get sick, but it’s important to know the warning signs. Better yet, families can learn how to care for their kids at home to prevent illness.
1. Monitor Your Child's Health/Symptoms
The illness represents itself in most people through cough, fever, and shortness of breath. Keep an eye on kids and monitor these symptoms if they show up. The good news is that kids are at very low risk of suffering from severe symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describe childhood symptoms as:
- Body aches and pains
- Mild fever
2. Be Mindful of Your Child's Stress Levels
Stress and anxiety can take a huge toll on people’s wellbeing, including kids. Parents should be sure to talk to their kids and keep them updated on what they need to know. They don’t have to get all of the news details, but they must understand that their mom and dad are taking precautions to keep them safe. Look out for stress indicators such as:
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in sleep
3. Teach Kids Disease Prevention
One way to empower a child is to give them the preventative knowledge they need to look out for themselves. This is a good chance to go over the CDC policy for hygiene.
- Properly wash hands
- Sneeze or cough into an elbow
- Wiping down tables and frequently-touched surfaces
- Avoid touching public doorknobs, handrails, etc.
- Don’t touch the face
4. Encourage Your Child to be Active
Another way to boost a child’s confidence during this time is to encourage them to get outside and move. In 2020, more kids are sedentary, but now that they have more free time, parents can enforce a “get up and move policy.”
- Accompany them on walks, hikes, or bike rides in the neighborhood.
- Have a dance party in the house
- Do online workouts together
- Breathe and stretch with yoga
5. Maintain Social Connections
Finally, allow kids to keep in touch with their friends remotely. It’s also a good idea to maintain positive interactions between siblings and parents. After all, everyone is in this together. There are plenty of ways to communicate virtually in 2020:
- Text messages
- Social media networks
Special Considerations for Pregnant Women & Parents of Infants
Expectant mothers or those with little ones may worry about the effect that COVID-19 might have on them. A lot of medical experts consider pregnant women to be at a higher risk of getting ill than the general population. Some extra precautions may be necessary:
- These individuals should be extra diligent about keeping their distance and practicing good personal hygiene
- Some doctors suspect toddlers and young kids of being transmitters of the illness, so keep them away from higher-risk folks
- Also, ensure that their hands and faces are clean
Frequently Asked Questions
What Happens If You Get Sick With COVID-19?
This illness looks different depending on who contracts it. Younger kids tend to display mild symptoms, if any. Sometimes, they may simply be carriers for the illness. Adults may experience flu-like symptoms and may feel run-down and achy for a few days. Common signs include:
- Sore throat
- Respiratory problems (in older individuals)
Can Kids Still Get Together With Friends?
At this time, kids shouldn’t hang out with friends. Even though these younger individuals may not show any signs of being ill, they could still be carriers. Parents wouldn’t want them unknowingly spreading the illness to more at-risk folks. Keeping them away from their buddies is tough, so now is the time to turn to video chatting and phone calls.
What is the Risk of My Child Becoming Sick With the Coronavirus Disease?
There is always a risk of getting ill, whether it’s the corona, the flu, or the common cold. Lots of parents are worried about their little ones or teens contracting the illness, and this is completely understandable. The bright side is that most of the folks who get severely ill from the virus are older. Younger individuals who get it tend to feel under the weather for a few days and then recover.
Are the Symptoms of the Coronavirus Disease Different in Children Than in Adults?
The symptoms aren’t exactly different, but they vary in how severe they are. For younger folks, there might be one or two warning signs. In contrast, an older adult may experience all of the symptoms, and at a higher severity level:
- Higher fever
- Extreme fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent dry cough
Should I Have Contact With My Pet If I Have Coronavirus Disease?
The interesting thing is that there are coronaviruses that specifically affect animals, but this particular strain that the world is seeing now is not one of those types. If a person does get ill with this strain, it may be best to refrain from hugging and petting their dog or cat. There simply isn’t enough solid research to know if pets are entirely immune.
If Kids Get Coronavirus and Recover, Can They Get it Again?
This is a popular question floating around. Unfortunately, the illness is too new, and experts know too little to know for sure. Right now, there is no evidence stating that juveniles who get infected and recover can’t get it again.
Preventative Measures Can Go a Long Way in Protecting Kids
Kids may be seen as germ magnets, but in reality, they have a low risk of suffering from this new illness. That said, it’s up to parents and guardians to keep them protected from infected individuals. By practicing pediatrician-approved guidelines now, adults and their little ones can get back to their normal lives sooner rather than later.