We understand that keeping your family safe is your number one priority — especially after a pandemic-filled year. The good news is that it seems as though we’ve finally turned a corner as most (if not all) places are now open, including schools, stores and restaurants. But despite this exciting milestone, many parents may have concerns about letting their kids back out into the world and rightfully so. With most schools opening back up to in-person learning come fall, it can be a lot to adjust to, which is why during this transition phase Dr. Kelly Fradin, author of Parenting in a Pandemic, says “parents should be kind to themselves.”
“We want to avoid our children getting and spreading COVID-19 given its potentially serious long-term effects, but we also have to manage our anxiety levels since this is a marathon, not a sprint,” says Dr. Fradin. “Getting enough sleep, avoiding excessive coronavirus media consumption, and asking other similarly minded parents for support can help ease anxiety during these transitions.” Another way to help ease anxiety is to implement a set of safety rules children can follow inside the home and out. We’ve compiled a list of rules both children and parents can benefit from in the hopes of making this time of “unknown” a bit easier to handle.
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Incorporate good hygiene into your routine
If we learned anything this past year, it’s the importance of cleanliness — starting with simple yet effective hand washing. And the good news is as kids head back to in-person schooling, this practice will be put in place more than ever. “Most parents will bring a new level of awareness and concern about what used to be everyday infections,” says Dr. Fradin.
However, despite hand washing being made more of a priority within the last year, Dr. Fradin doesn’t think parents should stress too much about it. “While it’s tempting to control your environment by focusing on sanitation and distancing, I worry that the chronic vigilance of these precautions will cause stress,” she says. “Hand washing and wiping down high-touch surfaces during pandemics or when illnesses emerge in your community is best practice, but don’t focus on these while neglecting the other fundamentals of wellness.”
Help your child memorize their contact information
This may not be an issue for older children, but for young kids, making sure they know their basic contact details should be a definite safety rule. This includes name, address and an emergency contact number, which could be an uncle, aunt, grandparent, etc., just in case they have to share this information with police. And if your child is heading back to school in the fall, it may also help to take walks around your neighborhood and home with your child often so that they become familiar with nearby landmarks (after all, it could potentially have been awhile since they’ve been at a school).
Practice first aid
We all know that accidents happen, and when they do, it’s best to be prepared. That’s why it’s crucial to teach your kids the first aid basics such as proper wound care for small cuts and scrapes (remember to clean, treat and protect the wound), icing a swollen injury and applying cold running water or a wet towel to a burn. The Mayo Clinic also has explicit instructions for how to handle a nosebleed in case that should happen as well. So, make sure you have a first aid kit available, whether it’s in your home or car, and that it’s easily accessible for your kids. And if you don’t have one, Target is offering a promotion where you can buy three qualifying products and get a trendy build your own first aid kit bag for free. You can build your kit to include an array of safety products such as BAND-AID® Brand SKIN FLEX® bandages in assorted sizes and BENADRYL® Extra-Strength Itch Stopping Anti-Itch Cream. You can also pack NEOSPORIN® 24 Hour Infection Protection Pain Relief Ointment and BAND-AID® Brand First Aid HURT-FREE® Antiseptic Wash so you can be prepared to clean, treat and protect bumps and scrapes of various sizes!
Establish healthy habits
Having a healthy bacterial flora is important for promoting our immune system, according to Dr. Fradin, and so it is keeping kid’s bodies healthy. This may not be the most obvious safety rule, but establishing healthy habits can ensure children’s immune systems work properly, which can reduce their risk of getting a cold, flu or other infection. “I think some of the most important healthy habits are ones we don’t often think of as preventing infections,” Dr. Fradin says. “Fostering good sleep, eating a balanced diet and staying physically active may be even more effective than cleaning your environment at fostering good health.”
Dr. Nadia Sabri, founder of The Mindful MD Mom, agrees adding that families can prioritize mental and physical health at home by eating balanced meals and having a plan for stress reduction such as deep breaths and journaling. “Practicing a wind-down routine that includes gentle stretching, meditation, praying, journaling, reading, etc. can help relax before bedtime,” says Dr. Sabri. “Minimizing screens, especially before bedtime, as blue light from phones negatively impacts melatonin and circadian rhythms, can help as well.” And more importantly, parents should be kind to themselves during this time. “Recognize that the effects of the pandemic and return to post-pandemic life will be different for everyone,” she notes. “Set expectations that it is normal to feel a bit uncertain and that is okay. Normalize that emotions can arise and that’s okay too.”
This article was created by SheKnows for BAND-AID® Brand. BAND-AID® is a registered trademark of Johnson and Johnson.