As schools and childcare facilities in Massachusetts are preparing to reopen, many parents are left wondering how they can continue keeping their kids safe and healthy during the ongoing pandemic.
While the decision to send children back to daycare or school is one that each family must make for themselves, it’s important to remember that your pediatrician is here to help you keep your kids healthy both in and outside of the classroom.
Keeping Your Kids Healthy
If your child is returning to an in-person school setting this fall, there are several things you can do to protect their health and wellness.
1. Watch for Signs of Illness
Monitoring your child’s health is, by far, one of the most effective ways parents can help limit the spread of illness. If your child isn’t feeling well, or is presenting with potentially contagious symptoms like a fever, a cough, or a runny nose, they should absolutely be kept home from school.
Keeping your kids home from school when they are sick is not only important for their own wellbeing, but it is also essential for protecting all those they would otherwise come into contact with. Having them stay home will allow them to recover while keeping their fellow students, their teachers, and the families of their classmates safe as well.
2. Practice Healthy Habits at Home
Schools that are reopening in the fall will be strictly following the health and safety guidelines provided by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. This means that children will be expected to follow their school’s masking, social distancing, and personal hygiene requirements once they’re back in the classroom. Practicing these behaviors at home before the school year starts can help make the transition easier on your kids, especially the younger ones.
Parents: you set the tone for your child’s health and safety habits. Help them adjust by getting them used to socially-distanced play or by having them wear a mask while they play outside. Personal hygiene habits like proper handwashing or learning to cough into the elbow instead of the hands are behaviors that should be reinforced and encouraged at home as well as in public settings.
3. Focus on Their Overall Health
While there’s added emphasis being placed on ways to keep children healthy at school, your child’s wellness is truly rooted in the routines they follow at home. Keeping your child healthy means ensuring that they are eating right, staying active, and getting enough sleep every night. Proper nutrition, regular exercise, and a good night’s sleep are some of the best defenses for your child’s immune system. Establishing or recommitting to these behaviors will help you protect your child’s health during the school year while supporting their ongoing growth and development.