Winter is notoriously cold and flu season. This year we also have COVID-19 to battle against. Many kids around the country are attending school and extracurricular activities in-person at least some days per week. Now, more than ever, it’s important to teach kids about hygiene and sanitation.
Here’s how you can teach your kids to stay COVID healthy during the colder months.
Explain the Importance
Before just giving kids a bunch of rules and restrictions, it’s really important to tell them the “why” behind them. It’s worth reminding kids of the seriousness of COVID and how hygiene and other protocols can help limit the spread. Have an open conversation about the pandemic and how it’s impacted people around the world. Explain how you and your kids can do their part to keep themselves and others healthy and safe. Beginning the conversations with this framing will make it much easier to get kids to buy into being COVID-19 safe.
Work with your children on handwashing technique, duration, and timing. Use the CDC’s guidelines on handwashing for reference. Monitor your child’s handwashing and help to correct them if you notice any errors. For young kids, it may even help to have a handwashing song that signals the length of time they should wash hands. The CDC also recommends using hand sanitizer that’s at least 60% alcohol when soap and water aren’t available, so make sure to provide your child with portable hand sanitizer they can keep in their school and sports bag.
Buy or Make Fun Masks
Children over the age of 2 should wear cloth face coverings as well. Getting kids to comply with mask wearing can be a challenge. For young kids, practice around the house and work with them on breathing techniques they can use if they start to feel anxious or claustrophobic. To make the experience a little easier for kids of all ages, look for a mask they enjoy. You can find several different patterns and designs online, or even make your own as a fun craft. Look for a snug, breathable material.
Promote a Healthy Lifestyle
The CDC has certain guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID, but a big part of being COVID healthy is being healthy overall. Work with your kids to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Find ways to safely stay active as a family, and eat nutrient-dense diets. Try new forms of exercise and new recipes together, and focus on getting quality sleep.
COVID is still a very real threat we are battling with. In the midst of winter and cold and flu season, it’s even more important we teach kids to be COVID safe and practice healthy habits. For more advice on keeping children healthy during these times, check out this article by the CDC.