Everyone’s lives have been turned upside down by COVID-19, but children of all ages have been hit particularly hard.
Those too young to fully understand the virus are left confused, angry and upset that they had to miss months of school and seeing their friends and even some family members.
Those old enough to understand we’re still faced with months spent largely indoors in isolation, missing out on major life events like graduations, birthdays, vacations and more.
Navigating online schooling brought on more frustration, while moving back to in-person learning with new rules and routines was yet another difficult change.
Now, parents are faced with preparing kids of all ages to stay healthy and safe as they return to school.
If you have little ones headed back to class, keep reading to learn four tips for helping them stay healthy this year:
1. Teach Proper Hand Washing
Don’t assume that because your child knows that they need to wash their hands after using the restroom that they know how to do so correctly.
Whether you taught your kid how to wash their hands at an early age or not, now is a great time for a refresher. As with any daily habit, littles ones may begin to skip vital steps in an effort to speed things up, or because they simply forget.
Depending on your child’s age, you can teach them to wash as they sing a popular tune like “Happy Birthday,” “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” or their ABCs as they lather and scrub. This is a simple way to ensure that they aren’t rushing their hand washing.
2. Find an Age-Friendly Way to Explain the Virus
It’s natural to want to protect your child from the harsh reality of the virus. But finding an age-friendly way to explain certain aspects of COVID-19 can help them to better understand the changes occurring in their lives, and to understand why they need to do things like wear a mask or wash their hands more frequently.
Even young children can understand the concept of the coronavirus as a “germ” that makes us sick and spreads from one person to the next.
If your child is old enough, you might explain the most common symptoms to them to help ease their fears. The most important concept to explain is how easily the virus spreads.
Understanding this may make wearing a mask a little less scary to your little ones.
3. Stock Up on Extra Masks
Once you’ve navigated explaining to your child why they need to wear a mask, it’s time to stock up.
Kids of all ages will likely go through multiple masks in a day’s time. Whether they get dirty while playing or misplaced when taken off to eat, it’s a good idea to stock up on kids’ face masks to make sure that you always have a backup on hand when you need it.
4. Use a Lanyard as a Mask Holder
If your children struggle to keep track of their masks while at school, all you need is a simple lanyard with a clip.
Attach the clip to one of the ear loops on your child’s mask, and have them wear the lanyard. When they take off the mask, it will dangle around their neck, staying within reach for when they need to wear it again.
Keeping Your Kids Healthy This School Year
As a parent, keeping your child healthy amid rapidly spreading germs in a school environment has always been a challenge, but COVID-19 has taken this to a whole new level.
From stocking up on masks and using a lanyard to help your child keep track of theirs to finding ways to explain the virus and re-teaching hand washing, these simple tips can help you prep your child for staying healthy while at school.