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November 27 2021 1:38 AM ˚
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Helping children return to school amid the pandemic

A pediatrician’s guide

coronavirus
(Photo: Pixabay)
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Curtailing stress levels is critical for our emotional and physical health. This is not only true for us adults, but for our children as well. After nearly two years of lockdowns, distance learning, social distancing, and virus-anxiety, there has beyond a doubt been an impact on children’s behaviors. اضافة اعلان

While adults may be more likely to recognize signs of stress and verbalize their emotions, children are less likely to understand what they are feeling, let alone tell us what is bothering them. Parents often ask me: How can we help our children cope and at the same time keep them safe?

As a triple-board certified pediatrician dedicated to the improvement of children’s physical, emotional, and social lives, I will present three easy steps to make the back-to-school transition as easy as possible this year — for you and for your kids.

Step 1: Follow the latest COVID-19 safety guidelines

Since COVID-19 was first isolated in late 2019, safety guidelines have been updated regularly as more information is gained about the virus, and as new variants surge in different populations and age groups.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has also fueled rumors and conspiracy theories — some of which have been linked to increases in hospitalization rates and deaths. It is therefore exceedingly important to follow trusted sources, such as the latest safety guidelines from the CDC. Here is a checklist of topics you should be acquainted with:

 • Each school may develop their own policies depending on their community and local mandates. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the school’s guidelines and that they meet, or exceed, those suggested by the CDC.
 All children 12 years and older are currently able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and should be fully immunized as soon as possible. The safety profile of approved vaccines has been thoroughly studied since the beginning of the pandemic and it is far, far safer to get the vaccine than to get the disease.
 Acquaint yourself with the school’s COVID-19 testing and reporting policies and discuss with your pediatrician how any cases might affect your family and their possible need to quarantine.
Step 2: Be prepared for a surge of other infections
As children return to school and mingle with each other they will share stories, laughs, and also germs! We expect a substantial increase in children developing a variety of viral infections this school year. That’s why it is so important to take every precaution to keep our kids as healthy as possible — and here are some helpful tips:
Research has shown that the most effective way to reduce the transmission of diseases is by doing two simple things: washing your hands, and not touching your face (eyes, nose, mouth, or ears). Reinforce these habits in your children.
Regular sleep has been shown to be strongly correlated with immune system health and even determine the effectiveness of vaccines. Given the importance of sleep for immune function, establishing a regular schedule of between 8 to 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep will help your child immensely.
Eating healthy has long been linked with improved immunity and the age-old saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” is rooted in the importance of proper nutrition. Check with your pediatrician to assess your child’s eating habits and if any supplements may be recommended.
Step 3: Give your children time to adjust
Remember that children absorb our feelings, so stay calm and positive when discussing recent events (such as COVID-19), regardless of their impact on your personal life or career. Encourage activities such as going for a walk or playing together. And last, but certainly not least, use time together (such as at the dinner table or during car rides to and from school), to check on your child’s well-being.

Anxiety in children can present itself as headaches, stomach  aches, crankiness, and sadness.

Be attuned to your child’s mental health and  seek your pediatrician’s guidance whenever necessary. Finally, life will slowly return to normal, and we should all work together to ensure a smooth
transition.

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