Tips and Reminders for Staying Healthy
During these uncertain times, many of us find ourselves searching for direction when it comes to maintaining our family’s health and safety. Since getting the correct information can sometimes be challenging, we wanted to draw on recommendations from the CDC and provide you with a list of simple steps your family can take to support a healthy and positive lifestyle under the current circumstances.
Creating a Household Plan
It’s important to communicate openly with other members of your household and come up with a plan that you are all able to follow. Some first steps include making sure those who are at greater risk for complications (older adults with chronic medical conditions) limit contact with anyone that will be out in the community to get household essentials. Another step you can take as a family is to create an emergency contact list that can be displayed on the refrigerator or other common place for easy access. This can include local aid organizations, the police department, family members outside of the home, or anyone else that would be beneficial to contact in case of an emergency.
Practicing Good Hygiene
Perhaps the most important good hygiene practice is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially before eating, and after using the bathroom or blowing your nose. If you don’t have access to water or soap, hand sanitizer is a good alternative but make sure it contains at least 60% alcohol. You should also avoid close contact with someone who is sick. And if you have to be out in public, be sure to follow social distancing guidelines by limiting contact with others and maintaining a distance of 6 feet when possible. Always cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and immediately throw away. Clean surfaces that are constantly being touched (e.g., light switches, doorknobs, countertops, and cabinets). These practices may all sound very straightforward, but they’re also some of the most important steps you can take to prevent the spread of infections.
Maintaining Emotional Health
Unfortunately, social distancing practices can sometimes result in people feeling confined, alone, or unmotivated. As we all remain vigilant in protecting our physical health, it’s just as important that we don’t neglect our emotional well-being. If you have multiple members of your household, scheduling activities like a family game night or simply making time talk about your day can be great ways to keep spirits high. (You can also check out a recent blog post for additional tips on how to keep your little one occupied during this time.) Luckily, there are many ways to stay in contact with people outside of your home virtually. If you know someone who might be alone during these times, take a few minutes out of your day to cheer them up with a video chat. Finally, scheduling at least 10 minutes of light exercise each day can be another great way to lift your mood.
Addressing Special Needs
Parents of children with special needs can face unique challenges during this time. These parents may wonder what the best way is to communicate important facts and teach good hygiene to a child with special learning needs. One tool that can be very helpful in these circumstances is a social story. There are many variations on social stories, but essentially what they provide is a way of distilling complicated information into simple, clear messages, which are often accompanied by illustrations that reinforce the main point. Fortunately, one of our very talented BCBAs has created a social story that is perfectly suited to addressing our current situation with your young ones. If your child, like so many, learns best through consistency and repetition, you might set aside time each day (or even multiple times a day) to read this story together. We hope that this learning tool is one you can incorporate into your family’s daily routine, as a means of helping your child better understand important concepts related to health and safety. Download the social story here.
We hope you find these all these tips and reminders helpful. While the present situation may be challenging, if we can remember to stay positive and take calm, rational steps to protect ourselves, we’ll all get through this together. We wish you all good health and hope you have a great day!