AFRICA’S peaceful parenting coach and Emotional Intelligence specialist, Abimbola Olayinka has urged parents, caregivers and schools to adopt strict safety measures in light of the second wave of the COVI-19 pandemic. She said that as the start school term carries anxiety with COVID-19 gaining new cases, parents and caregivers must ensure that their children are fully prepared to resume.
The founder of Galparenting place and Peaceful parenting hub noted that unlike previous terms where much of the preparation is centred on the mental and emotional wellness of the child, the safety of children now holds utmost priority. “Regardless of the mode of learning your child’s school adopts – hybrid (a mix of virtual and in-person learning) or physical – planning your child’s safety measures would help you and your child reduce anxiety.”
Olayinka, who is a positive psychology practitioner, stressed that teaching Social Distancing to children is key. “SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is believed to be transmitted through dispersed respiratory droplets. Thus the 2-metre social distancing rule is believed to minimize the risk of transmitting the virus.
“Show your child how to distance him/herself from others. Their school may adopt distancing strategies (such as dividing up classes or spacing desks and chairs); but you shouldn’t withhold educating them. Adopt the 2-metre rule at home; let your child know why they must avoid physical contacts – hugs, handshakes – with their classmates, playmates, or friends.”
The certified coach from the Academy of parenting coaches from Corte Portino Menifee noted that masking children up is another important safety measure. “The World Health Organization recommends the use of cloth face masks in public places where it isn’t feasible to avoid physical contacts (schools, marketplaces, offices, and public institutions). Prioritize wearing facemasks for your children. Let them know the importance of keeping it on at all times, except when they must take it off (during lunch, etc).
She informed that children should be taught the proper way to wear a mask. The mask should cover the lower part of the face (from the bridge of the nose down to the mouths). “Prepare at least minimum if two masks for each day – one to be worn to school, and a new piece kept in sealed, transparent nylon. Label your child’s mask to avoid mixing it up with others. One parent recommends stitching their initials with a needle and thread. Practice taking it off and putting it on and instruct them not to trade their masks with anyone as each child should have a unique mask.”
Olayinka said that parents should practice handwashing at home with their children and this routine should last not less than twenty (20) seconds. Hands should be washed just before they step out for school, and immediately after returning. In the absence of soap and water, use alcohol-based sanitizers to clean hands. Instruct them not to touch their face immediately after washing. Teach them to cough or sneeze into their elbows (or a tissue) and then wash immediately after.
On disinfecting, she, a John Maxwell leadership and entrepreneurship trainer said regularly touched surfaces should be disinfected, including doorknobs, slabs, and faucets. Wash facemasks immediately after use with warm water and soap and do not pile with other dirty clothes.
However, if you think your child shows symptoms, Olayinka informed that parents should not panic as it clogs the mind from being logical. Stay at home; this is very important, take a temperature reading, it is recommended that parents do this at least once daily. Contact your doctor and do not attempt to treat the symptoms through herbal or un-recommended means.
She added, “Each child should get a flu shot at least once a season. Don’t skip the vaccination process. While the flu shot will not prevent COVID-19 infection, it will minimize the effects of the virus on the vaccinated child.”