As a special needs mom, the latest confirmations of two coronavirus cases in Hillsborough County is concerning. Conversations about this virus are happening not only in my living room but in homes all throughout our local area. How do we approach this topic of Coronavirus when our children are listening and seeking our assurances?
Coronavirus Conversations With Young Children
First, assure your young children that Dad and Mom are watching the news of the coronavirus closely. You can help your children focus on fun ways to stay healthy.
Make a game of washing hands by using soap with a toy embedded in it. You can find these soaps on Etsy or search on YouTube for a Do It Yourself option. Here is one you can check out. Involve your kids in the project for added fun.
But what if your kids don’t want to wash their hands? Try a game to help them understand the need to wash. Cover a table with a throwaway tablecloth and layout a set of washable kids’ paint. You can use any brand. Crayola has a set of 10 classic colors in washable paint. Pass out construction paper and a paintbrush and let them create a design of their choice.
When the project is finished, have them look in the mirror. How many smudges of paint will they find? That is how many times they touched their face.
Did any paint get near their eyes, nose, or mouth? Have the kids imagine the paint representing germs. Since they don’t want to get sick from the cold or flu (or anything else), let them know washing hands will go a long way to stay healthy. Have them try painting again, this time with an effort to not touch their face. Join them painting for extra fun.
Be An Example Of Healthy Habits
Your children will watch your example and follow your lead. As you will read in the recommendations about coronavirus below, washing hands with soap for 20 seconds every time you come in the house, use the restroom, or touch surfaces other people have touched like door handles is helpful in staying healthy. If your children are young, you can help them wash, or if they are older, ask if they’ve washed up.
As a special needs momma, I’m not only washing my hands but wiping down anything that comes in the house, including products purchased at the store. I also use antibacterial wipes on my son’s stroller wheels when we come home and take off my shoes. I’ve been taking these actions prior to hearing the news about coronavirus and I will add the tips below to my family’s arsenal.
Practical Tips You Can Use Today Against Coronavirus
I received this email from a Facebook friend, which offers practical advice your family can use to stay healthy from coronavirus. Here is the full email from James Robb, MD FCAP:
Dear Colleagues, As some of you, may recall, when I was a professor of pathology at the University of California San Diego, I was one of the first molecular virologists in the world to work on coronaviruses (the 1970s). I was the first to demonstrate the number of genes the virus contained. Since then, I have kept up with the coronavirus field and its multiple clinical transfers into the human population (e.g., SARS, MERS), from different animal sources.
The current projections for its expansion in the US are only probable, due to continued insufficient worldwide data, but it is most likely to be widespread in the US by mid to late March and April.
Dr. Robb Offers The Following Coronavirus Check-list
Here are what I have done and the precautions that I take and will take. These are the same precautions I currently use during our influenza seasons, except for the mask and gloves.:
1) NO HANDSHAKING! Use a fist bump, slight bow, elbow bump, etc.
2) Use ONLY your knuckle to touch light switches. elevator buttons, etc.. Lift the gasoline dispenser with a paper towel or use a disposable glove.
3) Open doors with your closed fist or hip – do not grasp the handle with your hand, unless there is no other way to open the door. Especially important on bathroom and post office/commercial doors.
4) Use disinfectant wipes at the stores when they are available, including wiping the handle and child seat in grocery carts.
5) Wash your hands with soap for 10-20 seconds and/or use a greater than 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer whenever you return home from ANY activity that involves locations where other people have been.
6) Keep a bottle of sanitizer available at each of your home’s entrances. AND in your car for use after getting gas or touching other contaminated objects when you can’t immediately wash your hands.
7) If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use your elbow only if you have to. The clothing on your elbow will contain an infectious virus that can be passed on for up to a week or more!
Calming Your Children’s Coronavirus Fears
Implementing these steps gives you and your family a proactive stance in approaching the challenges we face today.
As you talk to your kids, remember, stay calm. As a parent, let your children know you’ll do everything you can and that they should not worry about coronavirus. That’s your job. Another suggestion is to restrict your children from viewing non-stop coronavirus news coverage. Even though there are cases of coronavirus in our county, and it’s important to take all precautions necessary, adding any stress or fear to your children through constant news watching is counterproductive.
Do you have other tips not listed here, we’ve got a few for preventing other illnesses too? Post them below.