Being stuck in quarantine isn’t easy, especially when you have little ones! Mange this period smartly with our Tips for Handling Home Isolation with Kids.
We live in strange times. In fact, even our grandparents probably don’t remember a time when the entire planet was completely shut down, except perhaps those who lived in war zones. A time when no one goes to work, no one goes to school, and when we’re all hiding from an invisible enemy – unprecedented times indeed.
With state governments and eventually the central government declaring a complete lockdown in the country, we’re all stuck at home with our families. Not being able to go outside and do our regular tasks is frustrating for us already, so imagine how it must be for little kids who’re bursting with energy!
Quarantine isn’t easy, but this too, shall pass. In the meantime, we can make the most of this period we’re at home without driving each other crazy. Who knows, maybe this is actually a blessing in disguise for many families!
Tips for Handling Home Isolation with Kids
Explain the Situation
The very first thing to do as a parent in this situation, is to stay calm. No, it’s not easy, and the uncertainty of everything is enough to induce anxiety in anyone. We don’t know for sure when this is going to end, what the financial picture is going to be like and how badly we’re all going to be affected. What we do know, however, is that we have the power to control our reactions, and indirectly, the reaction of our children.
Depending upon your child’s age, explain the situation to them. They know that school and exams have been cancelled, and it’s because of something called Coronavirus, which is bad (even though it got classes cancelled). Tell them that it’s something that can get them sick, and we’re all staying home for some time so the virus can’t get to everyone.
Don’t give too many details – most kids are satisfied with just a basic explanation. Unnecessary information will only create panic and that’s the last thing you want to do. Be matter-of-fact when explaining things and assuage their fears calmly. Older kids may have got a bit of misinformation from friends – clear these by checking reliable websites like the WHO or CDC. You can even do this together, so your child learns from an early age where to get reliable information from.
Stick to a Routine
A routine is a great way to establish a feeling of security and stability, even if the world seems to be falling apart. That’s why routines are advised even for newborn babies – who’re among the most unpredictable people ever! The same is true when you’re all in home isolation, when we don’t have school or work timings to guide us through our day.
Try to set up a routine that’s similar to your regular one, especially with regards to bedtime and waking up. Kids still need enough sleep, especially since it’s an important part of boosting immunity. Let younger kids take their naps as they usually do, so they don’t end up cranky.
Make a daily schedule that’s not too regimented, but is rather based on time blocks. For instance, a time for reading, a time for playing with toys, story time with Dad etc. Be sure to include unstructured, free play time when the kids can do whatever they want. You can try a routine for a few days and tweak it as you go so you’re all comfortable with the new state of things.
Involve them in Household Tasks
With everyone being on lockdown, it’s likely you’re having to do all the household chores too, unless you have a live-in maid who’s sharing the lockdown with you. This can be an added stress for parents, but it’s also an excellent opportunity to inculcate some life skills in your kids. Just think: if your parents hadn’t taught you how to do chores, what would you have done in the current situation?
The kitchen is one of the easiest place to involve kids, even little ones. Sorting groceries, putting things into the fridge or taking things out of them, measuring ingredients, washing and peeling fruit or vegetables are all things every child can do. Older kids can try their hand at cutting and making simple dishes on their own.
Clean the house as a family. Put some music one, assign each person a task and you’ll be surprised at how a mundane chore turns into a fun activity. Kids can dust, wipe down shelves and tables, straighten cushions, make beds as well as sweep and wash dishes. Little ones can learn to put away their toys and books and do a general tidy up.
Take Turns with your Spouse
The Coronavirus situation is stressful for everyone, whether they’re a stay at home parent, work at home parent or someone who works outside the home. Managing a full time job along with little kids while also taking care of household chores simultaneously is impossible, and you’ll only end up doing a bad job at each.
Instead, let both spouses take turns, so that one can attend a conference call while the other one helps their child make pancakes. Or one spouse can bathe the kids while the other one catches up on some work. Both parents can follow the same concept for some me-time or self care too.
Staying in isolation is particularly hard on new parents who’re away from their families. It’s very important here to make things as easy as possible since everyone’s sanity is at stake! Get an electric breast pump so Dad can also feed the baby. Choose whatever arrangement suits your family, whether it’s co-sleeping, baby wearing or anything else related to baby care.
Connect with Relatives (while Social Distancing)
The current lockdown is for 3 weeks, but the fact is that many of us have already been under lockdown for a week or so before this one started. That’s a long time to stay away from your extended families and friends.
Everyone is talking about how this is a war-like situation, but we have one thing people didn’t have during WWII – technology! Make the most of video calling apps to stay in touch with grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. Set a time everyday to talk to them – it could be a different person everyday so everyone involved has something to look forward to. Surviving isolation is a lot easier when you know others are in the same boat!
You can also connect with your kids’ friends over phone so they can chat for a while about what they’re doing. They could probably exchange ideas about things to make, watch or read. This will be a huge relief for kids who aren’t able to go out and play with their buddies.
Don’t Start Homeschooling
Schools have been cut and we don’t know when they’ll start, so it can be tempting to worry that your child will be left behind his or her peers. But that worry is completely unnecessary, since everyone else is going through the same stage.
If you’re thinking that this is a good time to get a head start, that’s not a bad idea, but don’t start homeschooling all of a sudden. It’s only going to add more stress for both parent and child, and we all know how stress can lower your immunity – a valuable resource in these times!
Instead, focus on other kinds of learning. Plant seeds and watch them grow. Learn how to measure in grams and milligrams. Look at how yeast makes dough rise. Learn how to sew a button. There are endless opportunities like these!
Use Screens Wisely
It’s not realistic to ban screen time completely during this lockdown and it’s not recommended you do so. Instead, you can use screens wisely so it’s not just mindless gaming or mind-numbing videos. This is a great time to watch some classic movies with kids – maybe you can introduce them to your childhood favorites!
Along with these, there are several documentaries, online courses and even virtual museum tours – all of which have been made free now that classes are being missed due to the pandemic. Here are some of the resources to check out:
- Free books from Audible
- Virtual Tours from famous museums
- Fun games and puzzles from PBS Kids
- Online courses from Khan Academy
- Inspirational speeches at TED Talks
- Visit famous places like the Louvre, the Smithsonian, the San Diego Zoo, the Yellowstone National Park and the Great Wall of China.
Include some Physical Activity
Kids aren’t allowed to play outside and if you’re in an apartment that means their movements are restricted. But sitting put for so many days on end is not good for their physical or emotional health. Make sure to include some kind of activity every day. It could be something simple like doing jumping jacks or bear crawls. They can do these every time an ad comes on TV. If you have a stepper, then TV time is perfect to get in some movement.
Another option is yoga, which is great to calm the mind during such trying times as well as build concentration and focus. There are many videos on YouTube that are specially catered to kids, and make physical movement a fun task. Here are some of the options to try:
Haven’t we all heard that necessity is the mother of invention? Well, a child stuck in quarantine will have no option but to rely on his imagination, and thankfully, kids have a lot of it compared to us adults! While regular art and craft supplies are great to keep them busy for a while, let them experiment and think outside the box.
Maybe they can think of ways to revamp an old piece of furniture. Or maybe they can get together with a parent to build something new. If they have their own rooms, they can try redecorating it from scratch with things they make themselves. Older kids can learn to use the sewing machine.
There are so many videos and websites dedicated to kids’ crafts that it can actually be overwhelming, so start small. You can even sign up for PBS Kids’ daily newsletter that has tips and tricks for creativity and to pass the time. No matter what kind of supplies you have, there’s sure to be something you can make with them. You’ll be surprised at how creative our kids can be!
You must be wondering why we didn’t mention this at the beginning! The fact is that most kids are bored of their toys, especially if they’re not open ended. The best thing to do now is to put away at least two thirds of their toys so they have just one third to play with. The second week, give them another batch while putting the current one away, and repeat for the third week.
This way, you can make sure that they’re not fed up, plus they’ll be delighted when they get a new set every week. Another thing to try is to make them look at toys in different ways. Maybe the Barbie is a paleontologist and she’s discovered dinosaur fossils, or maybe the toy soldiers need to be attended to by a Lego doctor!
This is a difficult time, not only in our lives, but in the lives of everyone around you, across the globe. Don’t worry about making everything perfect or packing every minute of every day with an educational activity. Sometimes just going with the flow is the best thing we can do at this time. Let’s stick to the government guidelines of staying indoors and social distancing, while also maintaining the WHO guidelines of hygiene. With a little planning on our part, we can make this lockdown period a memorable and happy time for the whole family.
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It’s getting closer to the end of lockdown and where are all planning a good holiday to the sun we are dew a getaway from the long year we had with so much covid-19 all around us .
But covid-19 will be around a long time and we still need to wash or hand and sanitize correctly.
Traveling abroad and going through the airport with the restriction on the fluids we carry.
And can be very expensive if you get stopped and lose your liquid , worrying about how you smell is a thing of the past.
How you wash or sanitize your hands is now the most important thing to know whenever you travel. Having a 100ml bottle is a must and can fit into your pocket comfortably and is the correct amount that airport guidelines allow you to carry on board so stay safe wash and sanitizer and have a great holiday.
SUPPORTING EXAM STRESS and Kids going back to School.
Tests and exams can be a challenging part of school life for children and young people and their parents or carers. But there are ways to ease the stress.
Watch for signs of stress
Children and young people who are stressed may:
- worry a lot
- feel tense
- have headaches and stomach pains
- not sleep well
- be irritable
- lose interest in food or eat more than normal
- not enjoy activities they previously enjoyed
- be negative and have a low mood
- feel hopeless about the future
Having someone to talk to about their work can help. Support from a parent, tutor or study buddy can help young people share their worries and keep things in perspective.
Encourage your child to talk to a member of school staff who they feel is supportive. If you think your child is not coping, it may also be helpful for you to talk to their teachers.
Try to involve your child as much as possible.
Make sure your child eats well
A balanced diet is vital for your child’s health, and can help them feel well during exam periods.
Some parents find high-fat, high-sugar and high-caffeine foods and drinks, such as energy drinks, cola, sweets, chocolate, burgers and chips, make their children hyperactive, irritable and moody.
Where possible, involve your child in shopping for food and encourage them to choose some healthy snacks.
Read more about healthy eating for teens.
Help your child get enough sleep
Good sleep improves thinking and concentration. Most teenagers need 8 to 10 hours’ sleep a night. Learn more about how much sleep children need.
Allow half an hour or so for your child to wind down between studying, watching TV or using a computer and going to bed, to help them get a good night’s sleep.
Cramming all night before an exam is usually a bad idea. Sleep will benefit your child far more than a few hours of panicky last-minute study.
Be flexible during exams
Be flexible around exam time. When your child is revising all day, do not worry about household jobs left undone or untidy bedrooms.
Staying calm yourself can help. Remember, exams do not last forever.
The Family Lives website has more about coping with exam stress.
Help them study
Make sure your child has somewhere comfortable to study. Ask them how you can support them with their revision.
Help them come up with practical ideas that will help them revise, such as drawing up a revision schedule or getting hold of past papers for practice.
To motivate your child, encourage them to think about their goals in life and see how their revision and exams are related to them.
Talk about exam nerves
Remind your child that it’s normal to feel anxious. Nervousness is a natural reaction to exams. The key is to put these nerves to positive use.
If anxiety is getting in the way rather than helping, encourage your child to practise the activities they’ll be doing on the day of the exam. This will help it feel less scary.
For example, this may involve doing practice papers under exam conditions or seeing the exam hall beforehand. School staff should be able to help with this.
Help your child face their fears and see these activities through, rather than avoiding them.
Encourage them to think about what they know and the time they’ve already put into studying to help them feel more confident.
Encourage exercise during exams
Exercise can help boost energy levels, clear the mind and relieve stress. It does not matter what it is – walking, cycling, swimming, football and dancing are all effective.
Activities that involve other people can be particularly helpful.
Support group Childline says many children who contact them feel that most pressure at exam time comes from their family.
Listen to your child, give them support and avoid criticism.
Before they go in for a test or exam, be reassuring and positive. Let them know that failing is not the end of the world. If things do not go well they may be able to take the exam again.
After each exam, encourage your child to talk it through with you. Discuss the parts that went well rather than focusing on the questions they found difficult. Then move on and focus on the next test, rather than dwelling on things that cannot be changed.
Make time for treats
With your child, think about rewards for doing revision and getting through each exam.
Rewards do not need to be big or expensive. They can include simple things like making their favourite meal or watching TV.
When the exams are over, help your child celebrate by organising an end-of-exams treat.
When to get help
Some young people feel much better when exams are over, but that’s not the case for all young people.
Get help if your child’s anxiety or low mood is severe, persists and interferes with their everyday life. Seeing a GP is a good place to start.
Some basic rules coming up to exam time
A quiet place to study – A suitable environment to study is important to help concentration levels.
A balanced diet – Good nutrition is essential at any time of year, but especially during exam time. Batch cook some healthy meals and stock up on nutritious snacks. Having some of the student’s favourite dinner to hand is important too.
Omega 3 is essential to fuel the hard-working brain at this time. Keep brain and vision in tip top shape by making sure to top up your good fats daily. Consider taking Cleanmarine® Krill Oil High Strength. It contains 590mg of concentrated, high strength Omega 3 Krill Oil. This concentrated formula of EPA, DHA, Astaxanthin and Choline provides the essential fatty acids required for the normal function of the heart, brain and vision. DHA contributes to the maintenance of normal brain function and vision, the beneﬁcial eﬀect is obtained with a daily intake of 250mg. Also eating 2 – 3 portions of oily fish a week will provides more essential fats for your body. Examples include salmon, mackerel and herring. Easy to cook in steam parcels in the oven with garlic, lemon and oil.
A good night’s sleep – Studying all night may seem like a good idea but if your child doesn’t get enough sleep, they are more likely to forget the information or under perform. When your mind is buzzing with exam questions, quotes and scientiﬁc theories, having something to help you switch oﬀ, relax and support deep sleep is a must. Try melissa-dreams which contains all-natural ingredients including the herbs lemon balm (Melissa oﬃcinalis) and Chamomile in combination with selected B-vitamins, Magnesium and the amino acid L-theanine. Magnesium contributes to a reduction of tiredness and fatigue while vitamins B6 and B12 contribute to the normal function of the nervous system. With no drowsiness or side eﬀects the next day, Melissa Dream helps you to wake up rested and full of energy.
Exercise – Even a 20-minute walk will help your child to relax and destress their mind, this will also help oxygenate the entire body.
Stress is the biggest obstacle to overcome. It’s so important to get enough B vitamins in foods like broccoli. Kale, spinach. Getting your 5-a-day is bound to be the least of your worries as exam time approaches; ironically this is when your nutritional and energy needs are at their highest. Make sure you keep your nutrient and energy levels up with One Nutrition® Organic Power Greens. This is a unique combination of nature’s ﬁnest green foods including kale, broccoli, spirulina, wheat grass and barley grass juice powders in a handy capsule or powder to add to your morning smoothie.
Take time out to do something you love such as walking your dog, reading a magazine, chat online to your best friend. Journaling is also therapeutic, to put your thoughts and feelings onto paper. Try family time such as playing a board game to distract your mind from the books for a while.
Don’t forget to celebrate – when the exams are over, go out and celebrate together, hopefully everything will be back to normal by then.
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Can vitamin D really prevent Covid-19? Here’s what the evidence says.
Vitamin D supplement sales have soared amid the pandemic as people try to curb their risk of contracting the novel coronavirus—but some experts are urging caution, noting that not enough research has been done to establish a definitive relationship between taking the supplement and fending off Covid-19.
What the research says about vitamin D and Covid-19
According to Sabyasachi Sen, a professor of endocrinology and medicine at George Washington University (GW), deficiencies of vitamin D are “not rare” and are especially common in older adults, obese people, and people with darker skin—some of the same populations most affected by Covid-19.
While vitamin D is known for protecting bone health, it also helps with the immune system, Sen said. It’s believed that vitamin D improves the function of certain cells, including T cells, which fight off pathogens and can assist in modulating inflammatory responses.
In addition, Sen continued, research has found vitamin D deficiencies have been associated with an increased risk of infection. “Now, what is unknown is whether it’s a cause and effect rather than an association,” he said.
According to the Washington Post, researchers studying the relationship between vitamin D and Covid-19 outcomes are interested in precisely that question: whether there’s a cause and effect relationship, or merely an association.
For example, one study, published in JAMA Network Open, looked at the health records of 489 people in Chicago and found patients with a vitamin D deficiency in the year prior to testing for Covid-19 were 77% more likely to test positive for the disease than those with normal vitamin D levels. Taking a converse approach, another study looked at a small group of Covid-19 patients in Italy who had been hospitalized with acute respiratory failure and found that 81% of them had a vitamin D deficiency.
Meanwhile, an experimental study in France at a nursing home with 66 people found that taking vitamin D supplements was “associated with less severe Covid-19 and a better survival rate.” Similarly, a study in South Korea of 200 people found that a deficiency of vitamin D could “decrease the immune defenses against Covid-19 and cause progression to severe disease.” And a small study in Spain involving 76 hospitalized Covid-19 patients found that those treated with calcifediol—an activated version of vitamin D, distinct from the over-the-counter supplement—seemed to curb the severity of the disease.
On the flipside, however, a recent paper considered by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in the United Kingdom looked at vitamin D levels from up to 14 years ago and didn’t find any correlation between vitamin D levels and Covid-19 mortality. And while the lead author of that study has in other papers called for further research on the link between vitamin D and Covid-19 outcomes, the researchers concluded, “For now, recommendations for vitamin D supplementation to lessen Covid-19 risks appear premature and, although they may cause little harm, they could provide false reassurance leading to changes in behaviour that increase risk of infections.”
Similarly, a double-blind randomized controlled trial of 240 patients in Brazil, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, found that one large dose of vitamin D didn’t reduce hospital stay length or mortality rates among patients with a severe case of Covid-19 compared with those in a placebo group.
Correlation—not necessarily causation
“We do know that people who have lower blood levels of vitamin D tend to have a higher risk of being infected with Covid-19 and having severe Covid-19 illness,” JoAnn Manson, chief of the Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said. “But as we say in epidemiology, ‘Correlation doesn’t prove causation.’ We don’t know for sure that the low vitamin D level is causing an increased risk of Covid-19.”
According to Natasha Chida, an infectious disease expert and assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, people who have a vitamin D deficiency typically have other health factors that could affect how likely they are to develop a severe case of Covid-19—and people who do develop diseases such as Covid-19 often experience a drop in vitamin D levels.
“Unless you take into account all those factors and separate all those out and look at just vitamin D … it’s really hard to make any inferences about what vitamin D is doing here,” she said.
Chida added that there’s “some biologic plausibility” that vitamin D could help Covid-19 patients. “It’s just that despite years of research into the use of vitamin D in respiratory tract infections, there still hasn’t really been a clear, slam-dunk answer that there’s a benefit.”
Research into the relationship is ongoing, however. According to the Washington Times, about 70 clinical trials assessing vitamin D and Covid-19 have been filed in the U.S. National Library of Medicine database.
Should you take vitamin D supplements?
As of now, experts say people who know they have vitamin D deficiencies should continue their treatment, and those thinking about taking supplements should talk to their health care provider first, given there’s no firm evidence that vitamin D supplements curb people’s risk of infection or serious Covid-19 illness.
“People should be wary of taking mega doses of vitamins or unproven interventions specifically for Covid-19, because we don’t have good quality data yet to suggest that this is of any help,” Hana Akselrod, an infectious disease specialist at GW, said.
Instead of supplements, people can add more vitamin D to their lives by being outdoors for 15 or 20 minutes a day, Akselrod added. And some foods, such fatty fish or fortified dairy products, could also improve vitamin D levels, Manson said.
“There are all of the positive confluences around nutrition and outdoor exercise that aren’t just limited to the number of how many units of vitamin D you get every day,” Akselrod said. “And on top of that, people absolutely need to continue all the other safety precautions, like masking and safe distancing and avoiding gatherings, because we’re in the most dangerous phase of the pandemic yet”.
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