March 19, 2020 7 min read
More than a million people have been infected with the novel coronavirus, with over 80,000 deaths worldwide. While kids seem to be at a relatively lower risk, they are not totally immune from it. But don’t panic yet. The good news is that diligently following simple cleanliness practices can significantly protect your children and family from the virus. Here are some simple rules you and your kids can adopt to keep the virus at bay.
While hand sanitizers are a great fallback plan, they are not the most effective way of cleaning your hands. According to the experts, washing hands with soap and water twice an hour, for a minimum of 20 seconds each time, is the best way to maintain personal cleanliness and hygiene, in the fight against the coronavirus. Remember the new mantra: Cleanliness saves lives!
Another cleanliness habit parents must teach children is not to touch their face, mouth or eyes, without washing their hands. Whenever they need to sneeze or cough, they MUST use a paper towel, and not the palms of their hands to cover their mouths. And every paper towel must be discarded in a closed bin, and not left around in the open. This is the simplest cleanliness etiquette, although many adults also have a difficult time following this. But for now, there can be no exceptions to this rule.
Regularly disinfect those areas in your house which have a lot of use, to keep your house clean from possible infection. For example, the front door, door handles and the doorbell, the TV remote control, light switches, mobile phones, sinks and washbasins are the most commonly touched and handled spots inside and outside your house. Clean these areas effectively with disinfectant to minimise exposure to the virus. Also, launder washable children's toys and dry them completely to ensure cleanliness. Research so far shows that maintaining a high standard of general cleanliness in the house and the immediate vicinity can reduce chances of accidental exposure to the virus.
Everybody knows what Social Distancing is. However, not everybody is following it in the right manner. Social Distancing does not mean not going to school, only to get together with friends to play on the building terrace or in the building compound. Explain to your kids that reducing contact with others and maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from everybody, even closest friends, will help them stay safe from the virus. This means no hugging friends, shaking hands or sharing things even when doing simple things such as going out to get groceries.
Lay down some basic hygiene rules that everybody must follow, if they need to go out during the lockdown. These basic cleanliness rules are applicable to everybody, including adults and kids. Wear full sleeves clothes and cover your face with a mask. Wear gloves and tell children to keep their hands in the pockets at all times, so as not to touch any potentially contaminated surface while they are outside. On your return, remove your shoes at the door, so you don’t get any bacteria into the house. Take a bath immediately, and thoroughly clean yourselves with soap and water. Wash your outside clothes separately, with some disinfectant, and try to keep them away from your other clothes.
While it is essential to maintain the highest standards of cleanliness in our homes, parents must also ensure that their kids get enough playtime and physical activity inside the homes to keep them physically fit. Find some fun indoor exercises to do with your children and encourage them to stay healthy to keep them occupied.
It’s a stressful time and everywhere you turn, there is a never-ending stream of information about how bad things are. While it is important to be updated about the corona outbreak, remember that over-exposure to the health crisis can increase your anxiety and panic, which can in turn be very stressful for your kids. Make sure you disconnect from the news and spend quality time with your kids to ensure they remain in a positive frame of mind at all times. For ideas on how parents can keep your kids constructively occupied during the lockdown, click here.
Remember that there are qualified doctors, nurses, medical and other essential services staff who are doing their best to keep things as normal as they can, in these exceptionally difficult times. Have faith in their abilities and keep your mind calm and stay indoors to remain safe in this crisis.
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