Current Crisis: Tips for Protecting Your Family
The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented health and economic crisis. It’s affecting the daily lives of families all over the world, including those right here in Las Vegas. For so many people, this situation is scary and depressing at the same time.
Gov. Steve Sisolak has ordered all of Nevada’s residents to stay at home until the last day of April. And that order could be extended. People in this state are only allowed to leave home for emergencies and for essential activities like grocery shopping.
Also, all Nevada schools and nonessential businesses are closed for the duration. Also, to receive federal funding, Gov. Sisolak has asked the Trump administration to declare Nevada a major disaster area.
In these alarming circumstances, it’s vital to stay informed. Keep following the latest coronavirus developments. Always listen to the medical experts. And follow all government directives.
On top of that, here are some things you can do to keep your family safer, healthier, and happier until this catastrophe passes.
1. Fight the Virus Every Day
Above all, continually take action to protect your family and yourself from the virus. These steps are especially necessary for anyone with a chronic condition like diabetes, asthma, cardiac disease, or an immune disease.
First, people should wash their hands repeatedly throughout the day, especially right before eating. Scrub with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds each time. And keep reminding each family member not to touch his or her face.
Frequently wipe and disinfect surfaces throughout your home. Pay special attention to surfaces in the kitchen and those, like computer keyboards, that get touched all the time. Wash towels, plush toys, blankets, and bedding often as well. Consider using a mattress cover to help keep your mattress sanitized.
When possible, everyone should sneeze or cough into a tissue or a paper towel and then throw that object away. When there’s no other choice, you and your family should cough or sneeze into an elbow.
For as long as the pandemic is raging, stay home except for necessities. Don’t travel. When you must go out, try to stay 6 feet away from other people. And don’t touch anything unless you really need to.
If anyone shows any of the signs of COVID-19 illness, call your doctor right away for instructions. Those symptoms include fever, coughing, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
Also, if someone has severe symptoms such as confusion, chest pain, a blue-colored face, or severe breathing difficulties, get them medical help immediately.
2. Prioritize Schoolwork
Give your kids a quiet, well-lit room where they can complete their school lessons. Maybe they’ll focus better in different places. Or perhaps they’ll motivate each other if they’re in the same room, especially if a younger child will follow an older sibling’s example.
Either way, any home study space should be free of pets, toys, and other distractions. If they don’t need a laptop or other electronic device to do their assignments, remove all such objects beforehand.
You might even create a mini classroom with desks and a large whiteboard. Such an environment may put your children into an academic frame of mind.
Feel free to email your child’s teacher for tips on explaining specific topics. Maybe she or he could send you a video lesson from a trustworthy educational resource. This teacher might even hold video calls with your daughter or son from time to time.
In any event, to promote good habits, homeschooling sessions should begin and end at roughly the same time each day. Make sure you schedule enough time so that those lessons aren’t rushed. And fit breaks and healthy snacks into the schedule as well.
3. Stick to a Sleep Schedule
When daily routines are thrown off, it’s easy for people to stay up later and get up later than they usually would. Even so, everyone in your family ought to go to bed and wake up at about the same time each day. That goes for adults as well as children.
By doing so, you’ll keep your sleep rhythms consistent. It’ll be much easier to fall asleep and then stay asleep throughout the night. Your body’s internal clock won’t be confused. It’ll know when it should be alert and when it should be getting sleepy.
After all, no one wants to be drowsy during the day. You have homeschooling lessons, chores, remote work, and other activities that require a wide-awake brain.
4. Eat Healthily
Obviously, it’s a tough time to watch what you eat. The temptation to overeat due to stress is high. Many supermarkets are short on various items. Healthy restaurants are closed.
Nevertheless, you can still provide your family with nutritious snacks and three balanced meals per day.
When you shop, choose lean meats that you can grill, bake, or broil. Pasta, crackers, and rice that are whole grain are also excellent options.
What’s more, load up your shopping cart with fruits and vegetables. They make great snacks. Likewise, a baked apple with cottage cheese and a banana with cinnamon, to name two examples, are tasty desserts.
You could always search the internet for healthy recipes to make with your kids. The joy of cooking together can lead to a lifelong appreciation of wholesome meals.
5. Exercise Each Day
Without youth sports and trips to the gym, it’s harder to get regular exercise. Yet, no matter what’s going on in the world, physical activity remains vital for physical and mental health.
Working out can help you sleep. It can boost your immune system’s functioning. Not least, it offers a break from work and chores, which can really clear the mind.
Under quarantine, you just must get a little creative.
First, you can take walks. However, you must socially distance yourself from other pedestrians.
Do you have a dog? If so, you and your kids can still play fetch and run around the yard with your furry loved one.
Of course, YouTube has a vast trove of aerobic, strength training, yoga, Pilates, and other workouts for all ages and fitness levels.
Indeed, you can gather all your exercise equipment — stationary bike, free weights, yoga mats, and so on — in your living room or basement. That way, you’ll be all set for your daily fitness sessions.
If you lack such equipment, use substitutes. For instance, heavy cans of food can work as weights, and a thick bath towel makes an excellent mat.
Just be sure to vary your exercises so that the routine doesn’t get dull. Also, each session should begin with stretching and a warm-up. And it should end with gentle cooldown moves.
In between, everyone should break a sweat. Everyone should have fun, too.
6. Have Honest Conversations
You don’t want to talk about the virus all the time at home. Especially if it’s on your mind all the time. Similarly, try to keep young children away from the constant news coverage on TV, radio, and the internet.
Still, on occasion, your children may wonder what’s going on. It’s essential to deal with those questions in a clear, direct way.
Don’t pretend that everything is fine. Likewise, avoid giving your children false hope, saying that the crisis will be over soon. If your rosy predictions don’t come true, it might make your kids even more afraid. It could lead to some trust issues, too.
Instead, you can explain, on an age-appropriate level, that a new sickness is going around the world. Schools, stores, restaurants, and many other places are closed to stop the spread of the virus. You could also tell your kids frankly that you don’t know when this problem will end.
Assure your children that doctors and other experts are working on medical treatments and a vaccine. Until that time, your entire family will support and comfort one another.
Additionally, you can review the steps that they can take, like washing their hands thoroughly, to protect themselves. Knowing they can take preventative measures may give your children a greater sense of empowerment. That’s a way to keep fear in check.
When you’re discussing these matters with your children, do your best to stay calm. Make eye contact and speak in a measured, soothing tone.
You can have these talks at any time, but they’re especially useful whenever your children show symptoms of anxiety. Maybe they can’t sleep, don’t want to be alone in a room, or seem unusually sad or grumpy.
7. Divide the Chores
Just as your sleeping, homeschooling, and work routines follow a pattern, so should your household chores. In fact, it’s a good idea to assign duties on a whiteboard at the beginning of each week.
If you want, you can rotate who does which chores every week. That way, people won’t get stuck doing something they really don’t like all the time.
It’s helpful when everyone knows what to do and when to do it. And people can always check out the whiteboard if they forget.
Doing regular chores passes the time and lends structure to the day. Plus, whenever people finish a task, it might give them a sense of accomplishment.
For all these reasons, even young children should have a few daily responsibilities: feeding the dog or sweeping part of a floor, for example.
8. Decorate and Celebrate
If you have some free time, how about decorating your home with your kids? You could grab some ribbons or leaves and make wreaths to hang. You’ll find plenty of homemade wreath instructions online.
If your family finds it comforting, you might pull out some holiday decorations. Put them up all over the house. A little holiday spirit could make life more festive and colorful, even if it’s not a holiday season.
In Inspirada, a neighborhood in the nearby city of Henderson, some families are taking part in a contest called Light Up the Night. It runs all through April. Light Up the Night asks people to hang Christmas lights outside their homes to win a gift card.
All those holiday lights are sure to strengthen the feeling of community. They’ll remind everyone gazing out their windows that we’re all in this crisis together. Thus, the lights will make potentially stressful nights more appealing.
So why not take some inspiration from Inspirada?
9. Cherish the Time Together
Maybe you and your spouse are raising your children together. Perhaps you’re co-parenting, or you’re a single parent. No matter what your family life is like or what’s going on in the world, it’s great to gather everyone together every day for a little quality time.
You could play board games, work on puzzles, do arts and crafts projects, share memories, or tell stories. The years pass by all too quickly, but the memories of these happy moments will linger.
Don’t forget to include other people during some of your family togetherness sessions. You could ask grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and others to join in via video calls.
When you play certain games, maybe some of your kids’ friends will want to join in through a video chat. Of course, older kids and teenagers will probably want to video conference with their friends in private.
As a final tip, whenever you feel overwhelmed yourself, it’s essential to take a break. Step outside to breathe in some fresh desert air. Listen to some soothing music alone. Watch a concert or an old football game on the internet.
By attending to your own mental health needs when necessary and by keeping your own spirits up, you’ll be a much better help to everyone else around you.
Especially crucial, keep reminding yourself that, sometime in the not-too-distant future, life will start getting back to normal again. The worst of the crisis will be over. Schools, restaurants, and Las Vegas casinos will open their doors once again.
Best of all, you and your family will be able to resume your regular schedules. At that time, you might all have a greater appreciation for one another and for life itself.