Going back to school looks a little different this year. Many school districts are offering hybrid programs for children, and that means that millions of kids are headed back to the classroom. This decision is highly controversial, and there are many pros and cons to consider. However, you can help to reduce the risks involved by teaching your kid about Covid safety.
Explaining the dangers of Covid-19 without scaring your child requires a difficult balance. Fortunately, you can achieve this balance by using kid-friendly language, keeping the conversation clinical, and underscoring the fact that there are ways they can keep themselves safe. When the entire conversation is centered on prevention rather than consequences, you’re far more likely to give your child the confidence to follow Covid-19 safety protocols. Here are some tips on how to achieve that result.
Talk to your children about the vaccination and testing protocols at their school. Let them know that their teachers are doing everything they can to make sure they’re safe at school. This might require you to explain how COVID testing for schools works. Just remember to keep the language simple.
Explain what a virus is and how it spreads. It’s important to discuss the topic as calmly as possible to avoid worrying your child too much. It is good for them to know it can be dangerous, but you want them to understand that they have the power to protect themselves and others. If you’re struggling to explain what a virus is, there are several kid-friendly YouTube videos designed to help children understand the purpose of the safety protocols in place.
Your child is far more likely to follow Covid-19 protocols when they see their parents modeling good behavior. By washing your hands frequently while singing “Happy Birthday,” wearing a mask, and maintaining social distancing you’re showing your child that this is the correct behavior.
Wearing a mask isn’t particularly comfortable, and many children already struggle to keep their normal clothes on properly. With younger children, you may have to go over proper mask-wearing on a daily basis. Make sure their mask fits snuggly around their face so that it covers their nose and chin without gaps. This is a great time to remind them when it is okay for them to take their mask off.
Children interact with the world in a very physical way. They want to touch everything and everyone. Unfortunately, that isn’t compatible with pandemic protocols. In addition to explaining social distancing, it may also be beneficial to turn it into a game. Teach them to try to be exactly six feet away from you. Pull out a measuring tape and praise them every time they’re between six and seven feet away from you. This teaches proper distance, while having a bit of fun, especially if you have multiple children competing with one another.
Children aren’t the best at washing their hands properly, so you will want to review their technique before they go back to school. One great way to do this is to cover their hands in non-toxic paint. The two of you can then stand side-by-side a race to see who can get their hands completely clean first. All the paint has to come off, even between the fingers and under their nails. It sounds silly, but you can use it to explain why it’s so important to be thorough because the virus can be in all those places too.
Ultimately, you want your child to know it’s important, but you also want to keep it as light as you can. Our kids have already had a lot of their plate, and they don’t need excess stress. If at any point your child begins to show symptoms associated with Covid-19, then they should use COVID same-day testing to help your child’s school control any possible outbreak.