The arrival of COVID-19 vaccines made society breathe a collective sigh of relief, but we haven’t emerged from the pandemic just yet. Even if you had your shot, someone you know might not have.
It’s crucial to continue preventative measures to slow the spread. The need for social distancing and masking isn’t over yet. Here’s what you need to know about protecting your children once you have the vaccine — assuming they haven’t yet.
Maintain Social Distancing
Your little one is probably chomping at the bit to return to playdates as usual. Their parents might exert pressure in that direction, too, if you previously traded babysitting swaps.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you can start to socialize indoors with other fully vaccinated people — which may or may not include your child and their friends. However, you should not gather indoors with people outside of your family if any of them have a risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun — but you should maintain social distance. If you have an Oculus Quest, games such as FitXR and Dance Central VR get little bodies moving and improve muscular coordination. With the return of spring, you can also have small outdoor gatherings and play games like Red Light, Green Light that don’t require physical touch.
Wash Up When Arriving Home
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a nasty one, but it isn’t the only potentially deadly germ out there. You might have noticed that you got sick less often this year — and you aren’t alone. Cases of the flu have decreased during the pandemic, most likely due to improved hygiene measures.
If you work around high-risk populations or risk exposure in daily life, you could still bring the virus home to your children. While scientists are still learning how these new vaccines work, you can still contract COVID-19. Although you are less likely to die from it once fully vaccinated, your children lack such protection.
One solution? Wash your hands like you’ve been chopping peppers and need to remove your contact lenses when you come in from outside contact. You not only protect your child, but you also decrease your chances of getting sick.
Keep Hand Sanitizer Handy
As beneficial as hand-washing is, you don’t always have a sink handy. You can decrease germ transmission by using hand sanitizer. Keep someone on your keychain or in your purse.
Hand sanitizer won’t work as effectively if your children don’t use it correctly. Ensure that you coat all surfaces and rub until it completely dries.
Wear Your Mask
Even though it may be safe for you to go without a mask, you can still spread the virus if you contract it. Therefore, you should continue to wear one anytime you gather in public or go into the grocery store.
Encourage your children to keep up with mask-wearing, too. Whether they must put one on in school depends on where you live, but use your judgment. If you have concerns, investigate online learning options — many jurisdictions have free online public schools to let your child continue their education safely.
Follow Safety Rules
Although the move remains controversial, some states have loosened COVID-19 safety rules, while others remain in force. Additionally, individual establishments can set different guidelines if they don’t violate any state or local ordinances.
Please continue to obey these safety rules and encourage your children to do the same. Explain to them that they are for their protection and that of future friends they haven’t had a chance to meet yet.
Continue Accommodations for At-Risk Children
What if your child runs an elevated risk of severe illness from COVID-19? If so, you want to continue the precautions you had in place since last March until they can safely receive their vaccinations.
Children with autoimmune disorders, for example, often take medications that can compromise their immune systems. Please continue to stay home as much as reasonably possible and limit visitors. Frequently disinfect surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches and remotes that see heavy finger traffic.
Protect Your Children from COVID-19 Once You Have the Vaccine — but They Haven’t
Once you are fully vaccinated, you might itch to return to all the things you loved before the pandemic. However, you still need to protect your children from COVID-19 if they haven’t had their shots yet.