How to keep children healthy during the COVID-19 outbreak

Keeping your child healthy during the current COVID-19 outbreak has two key elements. Firstly, there is protecting your child as much as possible from contracting the virus and should they catch it, caring for them appropriately. Secondly, and arguably equally important, is the need for your child to retain a semblance of normality in their life as they may have been stuck in the home, had little contact with friends and other family and, of course, not been attending school.

At Kidz Village, we do all we can to address these two points and have written this article to give you as many facts as possible as well as offering practical advice. It includes keeping your child healthy, both physically and mentally.

What is COVID-19, and what are its symptoms?

COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan, China in Q4 of 2019 and is a new strain of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are relatively common and include some forms of the common cold as well as the more severe SARS virus. For most people, it is a relatively minor infection with some sufferers even being asymptomatic. However, in a small percentage of cases, it can prove fatal. Those who have pre-existing medical conditions or over the age of 65 are at most risk of developing more acute and severe symptoms.

The symptoms include a high temperature, a new dry and persistent cough, loss of taste or smell along with being unusually short of breath. It is thought that at the start of the outbreak, most people mistakenly thought they had a common cold or influenza. Unfortunately, this facilitated the spread of the virus, which is known to be extremely contagious.

How is COVID-19 spread?

The virus is spread from person to person via respiratory droplets which may be in the air or on hard surfaces where it can remain present for several days. The most common way for the virus to enter your body is when you touch your mouth, nose or eyes after your hands have come into contact with the virus. Using an alcohol-based hand wash as well as washing your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds is the best way to minimise your risk.

Teaching good practices to your children

You should always teach your child good practices, but it is essential during a global pandemic. You should make time to teach and reinforce actions that they can take to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the virus. This could include:

  • Being a good role model and taking care to wash your own hands while teaching your child to do the same. You should show them how to correctly wash their hands and even put a clock near the basin so that they can time 20 seconds. Remember, younger children will have little concept of time. (Singing a song that lasts approximately 20 seconds is a good routine to establish with toddlers).
  • Show your children how to social distance and the importance of keeping a safe distance from others. However, try to stay in contact with these people frequently via video calls on apps such as Skype or Zoom.
  • Be a good role model and set a good example when it comes to being considerate towards others. Of course, this is something which you would normally do, but now is an excellent time to reinforce this.

Maintaining social connections

As we have already touched upon, maintaining social distancing is crucial when it comes to containing the spread of the pandemic. However, it is vital that children maintain contact with their friends and family. Video chats are the best way of doing this, although it is possible to meet at a safe social distance. Parents should be aware that this may be hard for younger children, but those in their teens should be able to understand the need to maintain to distance and respecting another person’s personal space.

Staying active

Throughout the pandemic, it has been possible to go outside during the daytime. Children should be encouraged to play outdoors in shaded areas as this is good for them both physically and mentally. You could also promote some indoor activities such as dancing or aerobics if this is something that they enjoy. This will likely improve their behaviour and help them to remain some focus. Overcoming boredom is a significant factor for parents and children alike.

Being aware of your child’s emotional wellbeing

Children will respond to stress and different ways, and just like adults, some will be better at adapting than others. As a parent, you must be aware of any signs that your child is becoming distressed. Some children will tell their parents, while others may not understand and be unaware of how to communicate their feelings. Common warning signs include:

  • Becoming visibly more worried, anxious or sad
  • Developing unhealthy eating habits, perhaps eating too little or too much, eating unhealthy or sugary foods, or playing with their food
  • Sleeping issues which could include insomnia, nightmares or bedwetting
  • Difficulty keeping their attention and concentration as well as general bad behaviour

Giving your child enough attention

 It is vital now more than ever that your child receives the attention that they need to develop. This can be challenging for parents, especially if they are working, and we are fully aware that in normal circumstances, they would be in school. However, children need attention and can develop behavioural problems is they don’t get enough. You could try to incorporate online learning into their day, which will increase their interactions with others.

Did you find our article interesting?

We hope that this article has helped give you some ideas about keeping your child healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. At Kidz Village, we will always update parents on the current status as and when we have it. Our acclaimed International School in Bangkok strives to provide the ideal environment to promote learning. For more information, please call us on +66 2888 3337 and we will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.