How to keep children safe during lockdown

Communicating with children and rehashing new rules and behaviours is important during Covid-19.
Communicating with children and rehashing new rules and behaviours is important during Covid-19.
Image: miloszg/

Wearing face masks, practising social distancing and frequently washing your hands — these are some of the ways you can help your children adapt to the new reality.

Aline Hall, a clinical quality specialist at Mediclinic, says to keep children safe during a pandemic, communication is vital.

“Teaching your children why it’s so important to wash their hands, for example, or why they need to wear and look after their masks at all times, starts with explaining how this virus spreads from person to person and gets into your body.

“Empower and encourage them to tell you how their school is adapting to the new cleaning and social distancing regulations, or if their friends are wearing or not wearing masks. This will help you to help them understand their risk,” Hall said.

It is also important to help children articulate how they feel.

“Are they experiencing headaches? Dizziness? Trouble sleeping? You want them to feel safe and confident enough to open up the moment something doesn't feel right.”

Here are a few practical tips to reduce your risk:

Hall suggests washing your hands before putting on your mask and after you remove the mask to prevent contamination of the mask.

“Never touch the inside of the mask. If you use public transport, keep the seats on either side of you empty if at all possible. Open the windows when you are sitting in a taxi or bus — good ventilation reduces the risk of infection if other people are coughing or sneezing.

“Try to maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres between yourself and the next person. Any mask you wear should be washed daily with soap and water. Remember to wash your hands after washing the mask. Masks should never be shared,” Hall said.

“If you help your children stick to healthy hygiene habits and teach them how safety measures keep them safe from germs, you can empower them to take charge of a healthier future.”