16:14 PM

Parenting During the COVID-19 Pandemic: What You Need to Know


No school, no play dates and no after-school activities. Children across the world have had their lives turned upside down because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and it’s left parents grappling for a way to explain what’s going on and to help their children cope with all of the changes in their life.

Pediatrician Kelli Harajda, MD, with LVPG Pediatrics answers some common concerns parents may have when it comes to their children and COVID-19.

How do I know if my child has COVID-19?

At this point, information that we have suggests that pediatric patients may develop milder symptoms than adults. Be on the lookout for fever, cough or shortness of breath. If you are concerned about any of these symptoms, reach out to your child’s pediatrician. We are working on ways to safely evaluate children in person and over the phone while minimizing potential exposures. Symptoms take anywhere between 2-14 days to develop after initial exposure.

Should my child stick to a schedule while they are off from school?

Maintaining a schedule for your children while they are out of school is important. Stay in touch with your school and discuss any roadblocks your children may have in completing assigned work. I would recommend trying to follow your typical bedtime and wake-up routines on schooldays. Allow some daily flexibility; though try to plan a schedule to allow time for learning, play/free time, healthy meals and physical activity. Use technology for schoolwork and for communicating with family and friends.

Should my kids be doing any type of play date?

At this time, avoiding play dates or group interaction is the safest way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. However, social communication is important to children of all ages. Try to incorporate telephone or video calls with your children’s friends into your daily routine. Sending hand-written letters or artwork to family members and friends is another great way to interact and provides for another fun, yet safe, at-home activity.

Can my kids still play outside?

It is important to maintain your physical health and wellness during this pandemic. Playing outside or going for a walk with appropriate social distancing is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air. Be sure to avoid playground equipment if you go to an area with a park

What can I do to help my child cope with the anxiety and change in their schedule?

This can be a stressful time for parents and children alike. Here are some tips for helping to reduce anxiety and fear:

  1. Stay up to date on the facts about COVID-19 by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

  2. Help and encourage your children to avoid media exposure, which can cause panic and fear.

  3. Have open discussions with your children about COVID-19 and encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings. Every child will demonstrate different understanding and exhibit different emotions. Signs you should look out for include, a change in sleeping or eating habits, avoiding activities that were previously enjoyable, unexplained aches or pains, difficulty with attention or concentration, regression of behavior (toileting accidents, for example), excessive worry or sadness. These signs should be reported and reviewed with your child’s pediatrician.

  4. Continue to focus on your children’s emotional and physical wellbeing – eat healthy meals, get some physical activity and enjoy relaxing activities like guided breathing or yoga.

Stay informed about coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community by visiting LVHN.org/COVID19.