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Are You Keeping Up Good Health Practices, Even After School Starts?

Despite the changing conditions of the pandemic around the world, as parents our top priority remains the same: the health of our children! We want to make sure that our families are safe and strong. 

With that being said, school is back in full swing and it is very different than anything we’ve experienced before. Some schools are online, others are in person, and some schools are even doing half online and half in person. It’s a big change and is continuing to evolve as the months go by, but being prepared for dealing with face-to-face interaction and proper sanitation is absolutely vital.

students focus on health during coronavirus
Masks are a big, and uncomfortable, change for many students.

At Cape May Cares, we want the best, safest futures possible for our youth, so we’ve compiled a list of ways to help keep your kids in action. Beyond physical health, the past few months have also been strenuous on mental health. We’ve included tips for that, too. 

Health Tips For School:

Washing hands frequently and thoroughly.

washing hands to remove germs
Soap scares germs away!

Although this may seem like a given by now, it is still just as important. Hands should be washed for at least 20 seconds – enough time to sing Happy Birthday twice!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these are just a few of the key times we should wash our hands:

  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After using the toilet
  • Before eating food
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats

Use hand sanitizer.

hand sanitizer to keep kids healthy

Classrooms are busy and teachers often have their hands full, so going to the bathroom to wash hands isn’t always an option. Having a small bottle of hand sanitizer as a backup is  a great way to go. According to the Mayo Clinic, hand sanitizers of 60% based alcohol or higher is ideal. Although it does not get rid of all kinds of germs, hand sanitizer will help minimize the likelihood of you child catching or spreading some germs. It is definitely better than nothing!

To use hand sanitizer, simply apply the product to your hand and rub together until dry. 

They come in all different colors and smells, so there is something for everyone! You can even get cute covers to make them fun and personalized!

Use multiple face masks.

a fun face mask is safe and stylish
A fun face mask is safe and stylish!

Kids are curious by nature, and that means their hands are typically wandering all over the place… and then back to their face masks! Having an extra face mask ensures that any extra sneaky germs are likely to be wiped out when their mask gets changed. 

Plus, there are plenty of colorful masks to choose from. Coordinate them with an outfit, make a fashion statement, or even pick a favorite character from a movie.

Make it a game.

using cup phones to have fun while staying safe and healthy

Let’s be honest, there are a lot of new rules for kids to be following. Stay six feet apart, wear a mask, don’t play in large groups. It can be hard to remember everything! To add some positivity, try and make some of the rules a game to follow along. Who can wash their hands the most times today? Who has the most colorful mask? Set up string cup phones for a socially distanced game of whisper down the lane. It isn’t always easy, but if there’s a will, there’s a way!

After School:

Shower with lots of soap and wash clothes.

mother and daughter washing clothes

It has been estimated that the virus can stay on surfaces, including clothes, for up to 24 hours. Coming home from school, excited as they may be to get back, means that your kids are spreading these germs onto all of the surfaces in your home. Something from a sweater can spread to the couch when they sit down, or hands to a doorknob. A nice hot shower with lots of soap will eliminate these potentially harmful germs from the skin, and washing clothes from the school day will also keep germs in their own quarantine, so hopefully one day soon we don’t have to!

Addressing Mental Health:

On the surface, Coronavirus is a physical threat to our health, but with changes in routine, school, social gatherings, and daily life, it has quickly become a threat to mental health as well.

One study found that primary-aged children struggled with increased emotional and behavioral issues. Lockdown has also exposed children to domestic violence, cramped living situations, and strained family relationships.

We cannot forget the importance of mental health. Check in with you kids and see how they are doing.

Go for a walk outside.

a family walk outside to stay healthy
A walk outside is helpful in so many ways.

Being stuck inside all day can be tough for any child, let alone when they have to wear a mask or are learning online at home. According to the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, walking outside ‘has a positive impact on mental and emotional states’ because it ‘releases dopamine and endorphins to the brain, which produce feelings of euphoria.’ Not to mention, the extra physical exercise can help your child sleep better at night, too!

Discussing your rose and thorn.

Rose and thorn is a kind of ‘game’ or conversation you can have at the dinner table, or anywhere you like. It is a great way to get the family sharing how they are feeling in an open and comfortable environment. The premise is simple: you just share the best part of your day (the ‘rose’) and the worst part of your day (the ‘thorn’). By opening up this discussion, you can highlight the good parts of the day while also checking in to see how everyone is doing with the not-so-great parts of their day. 

Drawing or painting.

You don’t have to be an artist to express yourself through art! Not everyone is good at expressing their feelings through words, and art gives kids a chance to share their thoughts when they don’t have the right words. It enables brain development, creativity, and self- expression. Get involved by asking about their creative decisions, like why they picked a certain color or why one of their characters is smiling. We saw this first hand at one of our art events this past fall.

kids art to help with mental health

Conclusion

There is constant change in the current climate with Coronavirus, but keeping on top of physical and mental health is key! With lots of soap, handwashing, and checking in on one another, we can all do our part to try and keep moving forward. 

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