Now can be a confusing time for parents as they navigate unexpected changes in home life, work, and child care. Kids may be scared right now and ask questions you were not ready to answer. Consider how you and your family will approach social distancing over the next few weeks, maybe longer.
Disclaimer: This is a resource list to help families in a confusing time. Please make your own decisions about social distancing for your family based on your own faith, beliefs, and community.
1.) New York Times
“The concept is simple: Those practicing social distancing should stay home as much as possible and look to keep a gap of six feet or more between themselves and others if they do leave the house. The reasoning: Fewer interactions with people and the added distance when you must interact means less chance of exposure and hence infection with the virus. If you do get infected, social distancing lowers your chance of spreading the infection to someone else.”
Q. What’s the single most important thing we can do to protect our kids?
Make sure they understand that hand-washing isn’t optional. And that means showing them how to do it properly: using soap, warm water and time. Washing should take 20 seconds, which means you may need to help them find a song they can sing (in their heads, maybe twice) — like the ABCs or “Happy Birthday” songs. Be sure they wash whenever they come in from outside, before eating, after coughing or sneezing or blowing their nose and, of course, after using the bathroom.
The current recommendation is to avoid large groups. That mostly means groups over 50 people but conservatively means anything more than 10 people. However, if you don’t fall into the high risk group, you can still certainly visit each other. How to do this well? Here’s a quick checklist:
- Think small—only a few friends at most. Or think of this as an opportunity for 1:1 hangouts.
- Avoid physical contact and maintain a distance of at least 3 feet apart from others.
- Practice excellent personal hygiene habits, including handwashing, coughing into tissue or elbow, avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- If you feel sick in any way—please stay home!
4.) The Cut
Social distancing refers to a public-health protection measure meant to reduce and slow transmission of disease. Currently, social distancing is neither required nor enforced in the United States, though sick people are expected to self-quarantine and seek medical help. (It is not yet clear how people without paid sick leave will be able to do so.) But as a recent Vox graph shows, protective measures like self-quarantine and canceled events can vastly reduce the number of COVID-19 cases, and experts say it’s one of the best public-health measures we have.
My neighbors and I want to share childcare responsibilities. What should we keep in mind?
- Limit the number of families involved. This can help reduce the spread of illness between multiple families in a community.
- Keep the group small. The smaller the group, the lower the risk. Aim to involve no more than 10 children in one indoor care setting.
- Consider asking participating families to take their children’s temperature before gathering. Remind children and adults to stay home if they have a fever (above 100.4°F), coughing, or shortness of breath, or are otherwise unwell.
- Frequently clean high-touch surfaces, like doorknobs, toys, and keyboards. Everyday cleaning products are effective against COVID-19.
- Practice social distancing measures whenever possible. Kids love to hug, tag, and tumble, which makes social distancing difficult. You can try to increase the distance between children:
- Think small—only a few friends at most.
- Play games that involve fewer opportunities for touching.
- When kids do touch, remind them of proper respiratory hygiene habits.
- Think small—only a few friends at most.
6.) TIME Magazine
How should people implement social distancing?
Rousseau explains that social distancing is a response to the idea that, during a disease outbreak, many people can’t just stay home all of the time. “People have lives that they need to continue to live so rather than fully isolate, by creating distance between [yourself and other] people you can reduce the likelihood that the virus can be transferred,” she says.
And wherever social distancing can be practiced, kids can go. “We don’t have to go crazy,” said Dr. Aracri. “We just want to be careful.”
A few examples: Going to a library to check out a book “while monitoring hand hygiene” would be fine, said John Williams, chief of the division of pediatric infectious diseases for UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, though he wouldn’t recommend participating in a library story time with a group of children. Many libraries, such as the 19 locations of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the Cranberry Public Library, announced Friday that they would close temporarily.
I’m Remaining Calm
My children are sponges – whenever the TV is on, whenever my husband and I are talking, they are soaking it up. With that in mind, I’m going to find age-appropriate ways to educate them about the news without alarming them, I’m going to remind them how viruses can make anyone sick regardless of a person’s race or ethnicity, and I’m going to do my level best to remain calm and maintain the joy that makes life worth living.