CLEVELAND (WJW) — Getting children ready to return to school must involve much more than just picking up school supplies this year.
Pediatricians from across the state are telling parents that now is the time to begin “rehearsing” safety measures so that they’re second nature when classes resume during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The best way to make your kids not afraid is by giving them more information,” said Dr. Amy Edwards, University Hospitals Pediatric Infections Disease Specialist, “People don’t have to live in fear, but from common sense and caution.”
Governor Mike DeWine recently announced that students K-12 returning to the classroom would have to wear face coverings.
Dr. Edwards, who is also the mother of a 3-year-old, says parents need to be practicing that with their children right now.
“When we first started wearing masks, she struggled; she touched it a lot, pulling it down, and slowly, slowly we worked our way up to ten minutes,” said Dr. Edwards.
Allow children to help pick out their masks and make it fun.
The same goes for practicing good hand hygiene and social distancing; making sure they understand what 6-ft really looks like.
And teach them about proper playing and interactions during a pandemic.
“Mommy will tell you when the virus is done and things are back to normal but right now it’s okay to hug mommy and daddy and okay kissing mommy and daddy, but for everybody else you need to tell them how you’re feeling, and that’s a verbal hug and it’s the same thing,” said Dr. Edwards.
Finally, they say, children always respond better to structure and a schedule but that is even more important right now so they feel a sense of stability.
And always be good role models.
Don’t just tell them what to do but lead by example.
“It was hard at first,” said Ashley Scott, a mother and nurse, “But I just told them if you don’t want to get sick keep the mask on and they don’t want to get sick.”