It’s no secret that things are getting scary and worrisome with the spike of COVID-19 cases in Botswana. With the infections coming closer and closer to home it’s always wise to prepare, as best as possible, for any sudden changes.
As always, we’re here to offer any helpful tips and support, but I’m not an expert in this area. I constantly keep up with what the Botswana Government and WHO are saying is best for healthy parenting at home.
Recently my family and I found ourselves in a scary situation where we were in contact with a loved one who tested positive for COVID-19. Here are the safety tips that helped us to navigate this tough time, and keep the home safe.
1. Preparing Physically
Sanitizing Your Home
Keeping the house clean with children is taxing on any given day. Add in an invisible virus, and this can be stressful. To make sure your home is clean and sanitary you can:
Target The Most Vulnerable Areas When Cleaning
High touch areas such as door handles, TV remotes, mobile devices, play areas and toys, the kettle, fridge, etc.
A simple solution of water and bleach or antiseptic is affordable, works fast, and is less harmful to your family’s health. As they come into contact with these areas throughout the day.
What we’ve done as a family is added a solution of 1 part antiseptic, 4 parts water to a spray bottle that we keep in our bathroom. To wipe down shared areas such as the sink.
We also use store-bought brands with bleach and have found that they work well in the kitchen. We’ve all committed to wiping down kitchen counters and appliances often.
But, be careful to avoid contact with your clothes and remember to rinse your hands after use.
Consider Taking Shoes Off At The Door
This is a winner on any given day. We’ve been leaving our shoes at the door for months now our house stays cleaner for longer with less dirt from outside. The added advantage is if anyone in the family has been exposed from outside the home, it’s easier to disinfect at the door. Especially when you have babies and toddlers crawling around.
Depending on your situation have a towel or change of clothes handy at the door. For younger kids, I would suggest making this as fun as possible with your child’s favourite items that they can look forward to snuggling in. Or, have a bleach solution at your gate or door to dip shoes in before stepping in the house.
Again, be careful to use a recommended bleach solution. To avoid any harm or contact causing irritations to skin or damage to fabrics.
Use A Checklist
A checklist is a great relief for the mental stress of having to remember everything. At the same time ticking things off the list is always a great motivator.
Preparing To Self-Isolate
If you have to self-isolate at home, you will
- Stay at home for 10 days from the time your test results are positive and have no symptoms. If you have symptoms past the 10-day isolation, check-in with your doctor before attempting to leave isolation.
- Ask your loved ones to help you with anything you need. Food, essentials, and anything to make your isolation as comfortable as possible. The best way is to have them leave them at the door and keep a safe distance before you collect them. Remember to sanitize and wear your mask before you collect your essentials.
- Not have visitors – rather use video call to stay in touch with loved ones
- Not leave your home unless it’s for medical purposes to reduce exposure
- Stock up on health essentials and kids essentials like nappies, milk, toiletries, medicine and activities to keep you occupied throughout the self-isolation.
When Would You Need Emergency Care?
Should you or your child develop the following symptoms, call the 24-hour emergency lines immediately at 16649 or 0800 600 111.
- Trouble breathing
- Chest pain or pressure in your chest that doesn’t go away
- Coughing up blood
- Being confused
- Severe sleepiness (finding it difficult to wake up or stay awake)
- Blue lips or face
2. Preparing Kids Mentally And Emotionally
Provide Simple & Honest Answers About What’s Happening Around Them
The truth is no matter how old they are, they have either heard the news or can pick up the fear around them. It’s okay to say that yes, there’s a virus and people are falling sick. But, remind them that following safety precautions like washing their hands, sanitizing, and wearing a face mask. Stay home as often as possible to help everyone stay safe and healthy.
Have Honest Conversations With Your Kids About Their Fears In Isolation
Children naturally need more assurance when there are sudden changes to routine, environment or there’s a level of uncertainty. So don’t be surprised if they lay the questions one after the other or if they are feeling a little anxious. Feel free to be honest about how you feel too so they don’t feel alone. Always end on a hopeful note assuring them that the isolation is only for a short time.
Recognize And Affirm Their Feelings
Saying things like, “I can see that you’re upset that you can’t play with your friends right now,”. For older kids, help guide their decisions with questions like, “how else can you have fun with your friends?”. If your child is big on gaming like my 12-year-old brother, the game consoles can quickly turn into a “vampire” that saps electricity. This article was a lifesaver, helping us save a little pula.
Keep In Touch With Loved Ones
Video chats are a great way to support yourself and others remotely. The great thing about movement restrictions is there’s more time to catch up with friends and family that have been on your mind for a while.
Give Extra Hugs
Hugs are a good way to help your child regulate their own emotions. If they feel overstimulated or anxious, a warm embrace can help them feel grounded again. If you are calm and controlled, it can help your child begin to calm down. If you’re isolated in the same room, this could be a way of strengthening your bond. Read more about the science behind hugs here.
3. Find Support
Reach out. To mum support groups, your doctor, loved ones – whatever community you have around you reach out when you have questions or need to process the many emotions that come with this pandemic. We can all be together, at home.
These are just some safety tips my family and I, and the mums around me, have used to navigate the presence of COVID-19 in our world.
Please please please remember to keep following safety precautions by wearing your mask, social distancing, sanitizing, and washing your hands. Keep encouraging your loved ones to do the same. Share this with someone who needs it.