Page 11 - Scene Magazine 45-07 July 2020
P. 11

 Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn from you about how to cope with stress. Have them join you in healthy behaviors. There’s always a way to make them fun.
Try to keep up with regular routines. With schools currently closed, create
a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities. You can even in- troduce indoor activity breaks (like stretch breaks or dance breaks) throughout the day to help your child stay healthy and focused.
Spend time with your child in mean- ingful activities, reading together, exer- cising, playing board games, or doing something for others. This can help to reduce their fears. The CDC recommends having your child write letters or cards to family members they can’t visit in person, or to people in the community who are especially vulnerable (such as elderly folks in nursing homes). This will give them a specific act of service to feel proud of and connected to.
Finding ways to increase socialization can be important, which now can go be- yond technologies such as FaceTime and Zoom. Even my grand daughter would prefer a hug over a FaceTime hello.
Re-entering the world of socialization might begin with family and close friends, but one important aspect of it includes the opportunity to interact and play. Getting outside is important as well and kids love to play outdoor games, (but don’t forget the sunscreen). How about
a scavenger hunt, a trip to the Zoo, or a walk in the park? All of these can be done
with safety in mind. Keeping the social circle small at first is a smart step.
Whether others are following safety guidelines or not, you can take the respon- sibility for protecting yourself and your family while re-introducing social inter- action. Know your risks and options for prevention. A better understanding of what must happen in order for disease transmis- sion to occur might help to reduce fears as well as significantly reduce risk.
First, the disease must exist. If your children are playing with others who do not have the infection, they cannot get
it from them. The flipside is also true. If your child does not have the infection they cannot give it to another person. The quarantine concept helps to reduce your exposure to infection, but so can physical distancing and wearing a mask.
Next, there must be a high enough concentration of the virus that gets into the correct entry site in order for trans- mission to occur. In this case we are concerned about the respiratory system and possibly mucus membranes. Making sure that those areas are protected while interacting with others reduces risk. Again, wearing your mask is important.
Finally, you or your child must be susceptible to the virus. This is one of the reasons that a vaccine has been so important in the conversation. A vaccine can help reduce risk, but so can having a powerful immune system. Whether there is a vaccine or not you can choose to boost your immune system and reduce your risk of all types of infection by eating right; drinking plenty of water; getting
enough movement and sleep; laughing; caring for any other conditions you may have; and much more.
The bottom line is this: In order
for disease transmission to occur the person you come into contact with must have the virus. Furthermore, the virus must get into the correct entry site of a susceptible person (such as yourself), in a high enough concentration. You can take actions to interrupt any of these steps and reduce the risk for yourself and your children.
When it comes to our children and how COVID-19 is impacting their world we need to look at their whole person as it relates to their physical, mental, and spiritual health. While children seemingly have a reduced risk of infection there appears to be an increased risk to their mental health. Clinicians have been encouraged to plan for additional con- cerns in children and if you are experienc- ing challenges reach out.
Turn your fear, and that of your chil- dren, into a joyful new way to look
at each day.
• Get the facts about Coronavirus (COVID-19),
1- Google Trends Study: arXiv. (2020.) “Assessing the impact of the coronavirus lockdown on unhappiness, loneliness, and boredom using Google Trends.” arxiv. org/abs/2004.12129
2- Loades ME, Chatburn E, Higson-Sweeney N, Reynolds S, Shafran R, Brigden A, Linney C, McMa- nus MN, Borwick C, Crawley E, Rapid Systematic Review: The Impact of Social Isolation and Loneliness on the Mental Health of Children and Adolescents in the Context of COVID-19, Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (2020), doi: j.jaac.2020.05.009.

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