COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that can be spread from person to person through small water droplets from the nose and mouth. There are a number of preventive health measures that you can implement to reduce the risk of infection or transmission. However, preventive health practices can be difficult to implement in a home with children, particularly individuals with FASD. Challenges with sensory regulation, attention, memory, and emotional regulation make it difficult for children with FASD to understand and implement preventive health practices. The social distancing measures that have been put in place can result in feelings of depression, stress, confusion, and anxiety. This blog outlines some tips for caregivers to help you implement preventive health practices in your home.
Explain COVID-19 to your child
Most children will have already heard of the coronavirus or realized that a number of changes have been put in place over the past few weeks. This is a good opportunity to address their fears and concerns and to correct any misinformation your child may have heard. Ask your child what they’ve heard about COVID-19 and how they feel about it. Address their feelings while remaining calm and reassuring. Use developmentally appropriate language and place a strong focus on the preventive measures that have been put in place for their safety. Some organizations have developed stories and workbooks to help explain COVID-19 to children.
Set a new routine
Individuals with FASD thrive with a set routine in place, but social distancing measures like school closures and event cancellations have caused some disruptions to your daily routines.
- Try to build your new routine with elements from your old routines.
– Maintain current sleep schedules to ensure your children are getting the rest they need and to make the return to your normal routine easier.
– Eat the same meals you would usually eat on a daily basis at the same time as you usually would eat them (i.e., breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks).
– Do you know when your child has outdoor play time at school or in daycare? Try and schedule your outdoor activities during these times.
– Do you know when your child eats lunch or has snack breaks while in school or at daycare? Try and schedule your snacks and lunches to be at the same time.
- Plan a set schedule of activities throughout the week. Block out set times for activities, meals, downtime, screen time, games, social interaction, and more.
- Involve your children in the planning process by sitting down with them to make a list of potential projects or activities that you can do throughout the week.
- Incorporate preventive health measures, such as handwashing, into your routine (i.e., we wash our hands before and after we eat our meals).