Keeping our Children Safe and Healthy During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Posted by on Mar 17, 2020 in News | 0 comments

By now we are aware that two of the most important things we can do to limit the chance of contracting and spreading the Coronavirus according to the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) are to clean your hands often (with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or an alcohol-based hand disinfectant) and practice social distancing – maintain at least six feet between yourself and someone coughing or sneezing.

In addition to keeping our kids and ourselves physically safe during this stressful time it is vital that we take care of their emotional and mental health too. It is important to remember that our children always look to us first to gauge the seriousness of any situation and the appropriate reaction. That is one reason that practicing proper self-care is so critical now. In a previous post we shared some basic coping strategies including: eating well, getting enough rest and exercise, limiting media exposure, talking about other things, keeping focused on future goals, and even though you should be practicing social distancing – don’t isolate yourself!

These recommendations are for both our children and ourselves. Conventional wisdom supports the importance of maintaining a routine for kids. While that has been disrupted for kids in school, try to establish a new routine – a regular schedule is reassuring for children. Whatever their age, it is key to talk to your kids about their feelings and help them to process their emotions and keep things in perspective. Key points for parents are to remain calm and reassuring and to make yourself available to your kids. Be sure to give them plenty of affection and tell them you love them.

Two good resources about how to talk to your kids in an age appropriate manner can be found in a recent articles in Psychology Today, How to talk to Kids and Teens about the Coronavirus, Erin Walsh, MA and David Walsh, Ph.D, and the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus) A Parent Resource. (Click here to download the pdf version of the article.)

The NAMI HelpLine Coronavirus Information and Resources Guide may be helpful if you have additional questions or concerns. It contains a wide range of resources, including links to financial assistance programs.

In addition to these resources we invite you to watch Hathaway-Sycamores’ Dr. Cameo Stanick’s recent Q&A video chat with the Association for Positive Behavior Support about helping families in this time of crisis. Dr. Stanick shared strategies for helping kids cope and warning signs that your children may be struggling.

Download the COVIBOOK (mentioned by Dr. Stanick in her video chat above) by Manuela Molina in English or Spanish (both will open as pdfs). This short book was written to help ease anxiety in kids under the age of seven.

Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram and visit our website often as we continue to share tips, resources and activities.

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