11 Tips on How to Keep Children Healthy
Master COVID-19 Safety Tips on How to Keep Children Healthy
COVID-19 has brought new changes to our everyday lives. These changes can be more difficult for kids and adolescents. The best way to teach your child to observe recommended health protocols is to get them to follow safety protocols at home. Teach them healthy habits and encourage them to wash hands frequently and use hand sanitizer. Educate them on proper mask use and handling.
You should also practice social distancing at home. That way, your child will get accustomed to maintaining a six-foot distance whenever they are in school. Consider using visual aids such as paper or pieces of tape to show them what the space looks like. Ultimately, your child’s health is your responsibility.
Going to school or staying home during a pandemic may make children stressed and anxious. As a parent or caregiver, you can help your children prepare for that anxiety and offer a shoulder to lean on. Most importantly, assure them that you will do everything to keep them safe. Prepare them by explaining what they can expect. Pay attention to your child’s concerns and emphasize that they can talk to you whenever they feel anxious.
Keep Immunizations Up to Date
While most people would prefer to avoid health care settings altogether, family physicians recommend that you stay on top of your child’s immunization schedule. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers vaccination an essential service during the pandemic and offers valuable information about vaccinations.
Family physicians recommend getting a yearly flu shot to reduce the risk of flu and its complications. It is also vital to schedule an annual wellness exam to ensure your child is healthy.
Invest in a Thermometer and Always Have It on Hand
A thermometer is crucial to the health of your child, family, and everyone else at your child’s school. Check your child’s temperature whenever they leave home for school. If they have a fever, you will need to keep them home from school.
Build Physical Activity into Every Day
With children spending much more time at home, they may fall into irregular sleep patterns, poor eating, using screens, and being sedentary. Exercise helps a lot with both physical and emotional health. Go for a walk together to get some fresh air, play basketball, swim (or any other sport your child enjoys), or ask them to do stretches—anything to get them moving during the day.
This is especially crucial if your child is doing remote learning or hybrid, where insufficient physical activity may become a factor.
Ensure Your Kids Are Packed and Prepared for School
If your child is returning to school, do not forget to pack a clean mask and a backup mask every day before school. A resealable cover for packing the mask whenever they are not using it, such as during meals, can come in handy. If your child has asthma, confirm that you have the proper equipment.
Also, make sure you verify and update emergency contacts. Should your child fall ill at school, and you are unavailable, the nurse should be able to reach an emergency contact right away.
Establish and Maintain a Daily Routine
A standard routine gives children a sense of structure and safety. An easy way to establish a routine is to encourage your child to wake up and go to bed around the same time each day. Practice good hygiene at home and block off time for chores and other activities. Some kids cannot stay focused for extended periods, keep up with homework, or organize tasks.
If your child does 100% virtual learning, these things may prove more challenging. Consider posting a schedule in a common area of the house to help with staying on track. And if your child attends school, implement daily routines before and after school to cultivate healthy habits.
Encourage Them to Speak Up
It is important to note that regardless of your best efforts to keep your children germ-free, they will still fall ill at some point. It is normal to expect your child to have a few sick days in a year, especially when they are young and first starting school. Teach your children to speak up if they are feeling unwell at school.
If your child is sick, seek help from your child’s doctor, and make sure they stay home to minimize the spread of germs. Sexually active older kids may be struggling with peer pressure from other kids that puts them at an increased risk of contracting COVID -19 or other illnesses. Encourage your child to open up about taking preventative measures to safeguard their overall well-being.
Listen to Your Child
As you help your child navigate all these issues, do not forget about their mental health. Children may be equally overwhelmed and confused by all this change, so it is crucial to furnish them with facts about COVID-19. Try to be patient as you explain things, and give your children the chance to explain how they feel. Proper communication will boost their self-esteem.
Lead by Example
It is critical to remember that children look up to adults for guidance. Be a role model and lead by example. Kids learn from, react to, and follow your reactions. Exercise proper hand washing, minimize screen time, wear your mask properly, and maintain social distancing. This also offers an opportunity for you to model compassion, get creative about how we spend time, solve problems when they arise, and more.
Promote Healthy Habits and Avoid Junk Food
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), a healthy diet benefits people of all ages, especially young children. That means you should strive to give your kids healthy meals with fresh fruits and vegetables while limiting unhealthy choices and junk food with added sugar or trans fats. For example, lean meats are crucial for your child’s growth.
Make sure your children eat breakfast each morning. Breakfast is an important meal as it helps promote brain function and lowers BMI (body mass index). Cultivate healthy eating habits, minimize screen time, and ensure your child gets adequate sleep. Healthy foods and healthy snacks boost the immune system and keep your child healthy. People with compromised immune systems may benefit from vitamin C and vitamin D supplementation.
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- Jennifer Akiyama