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Your Child’s Health and Learning During COVID-19

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in children and adults. However, children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally shown mild symptoms and although children may have mild symptoms, they can still pass COVID-19 onto others. Reported symptoms in children include fever, runny nose, cough, vomiting and diarrhea.
Children should also be practicing social distancing, so remember to limit contact with others as much as possible. While school is out, it is best that children not have in-person playdates with children from other households. If children are playing outside their own homes, it is essential that they remain 6 feet from anyone who is not in their own household. If someone at higher risk for COVID-19 will be caring for your child, such as a grandparent, limit your children’s contact with other people to help keep your high-risk family member safe.

What should you do for your child at home?

If you do need to go out with your child who is 2 years or older, they should wear a cloth face mask that covers their nose and mouth when in the community. This should be done in addition to social distancing, not in place of, and be accompanied with frequent hand washing.

Watch your child for any signs of illness

  • If you see any sign of symptoms of COVID-19 like a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, call your Med First Healthcare provider to schedule and in person visit, or a telemedicine appointment from the comfort of your home.

Watch for signs of stress in your child

  • Some common changes to watch for include excessive worry or sadness, unhealthy eating or sleeping habits, and difficulty with attention and concentration.
  • Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand and feel free to also reach out to schedule an appointment with a Med First Provider who can also help you and your family discuss any concerns or questions.
  • For resources, go to CDC’s: Helping Children Cope with Emergencies,  Talking with Children About COVID-19 ,or Stress and Coping.

Teach and reinforce everyday preventive actions

  • Parents play an important role in teaching children to wash their hands. Explain that hand washing can keep them healthy and stop the virus from spreading to others and be a good role model—if you wash your hands often, they’re more likely to do the same.

Help your child stay active

  • Encourage your child to play outdoors (remembering to social distance), take a walk with your child or go on a bike ride together.
  • Use indoor activity breaks throughout the day to help your child stay healthy, focused and to ensure that they get enough exercise.

Create a flexible schedule and routine for learning at home

  • Have consistent bedtimes and get up at the same time, Monday through Friday.
  • Structure the day for learning, free time, healthy meals and snacks, and physical activity.
  • Talk to your child about expectations and how they are adjusting to being at home versus at school.
  • Consider ways your child can stay connected with their friends without spending time in person.

Stay in touch with your child’s school

  • Most schools are offering lessons online (virtual learning). Review assignments from the school, and help your child with completion of the online schoolwork.
  • If you face technology or connectivity issues, or if your child is having a hard time completing assignments, let the school know because they may be able to help.
  • Check with your school on plans to continue meal services while school is out. Many schools are keeping school facilities open to allow families to pick up meals or are providing grab-and-go meals at a central location.

Look for ways to make learning fun

  • Have hands-on activities, like puzzles, painting, drawing, and making things. Encourage children to do things like building a fort from sheets or practice counting by stacking blocks.
  • Practice handwriting and grammar by writing letters to family members. This is also a great way to connect and limit face-to-face contact.
  • Use audiobooks or see if your local library is hosting virtual or live-streamed reading events.
  • Some schools and non-profits, such as the  Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning and The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, have resources for social and emotional learning. Check to see if your school has tips and guidelines to help you and your child.