There is a lot of circulating information in the media and community about the current coronavirus pandemic, and as a result you may have concerns about your family’s health, and how to best look after your children during this time to limit the risk of them contracting the virus.
Evidence to date suggests that children who become infected with Covid-19 are not at a higher risk of experiencing extreme symptoms than anyone else in the population. In fact, most children who have had this strain of coronavirus experienced only mild symptoms, similar to that of a cold.
At this time of year, your children may normally have the flu or hay-fever, however the main symptoms to look out for which suggest that they could have Covid-19 are:
- A high temperature (their chest or back may feel warmer than normal to touch)
- A new persistent cough (or if your child has a pre-existing cough this may get worse)
If your child has any of these symptoms, it’s important that your entire family self isolates. This means you may need support from others to buy groceries and other essential items, but it is important that the entire household stay at home and follow government advice.
Explaining coronavirus to your children
It’s important to take the time to explain to your kids, even if they are young, about the global coronavirus situation. This will help them to understand the changes being made around them and to their lives, for example school being shut, exams cancelled, and why there are restrictions preventing them from seeing their school friends.
It is also important for them to understand social distancing in their own way, otherwise it could easily be overlooked. Although face-to-face playdates and meetings are not currently permitted, you can encourage your children to call, Facetime and chat to their friends through other methods – it’s time to invent new ways of staying connected!
Other important coronavirus advice for children
Hand washing is an important priority to emphasise with your family and children. You can encourage them to hum a particular tune or song which lasts 20 seconds to encourage them to wash their hands for longer and highlight that hands should be cleaned with soap and water or a hand gel disinfectant. To support this routine you could purchase fun smelling soap for the home or mini hand gel for all family members.
During this time it’s crucial to acknowledge that children may feel isolated and forced to stay at home and away from others. There are lots of different activities they can do and ways to stay connected to what they enjoy, from drawing to writing, designing board games, playing hide and seek or doing indoor sports. Supporting them to find new ways to have fun at home is an investment into their wellbeing.