Dear children and parents,
We would like to discuss some of the basic health protection measures against the pandemics of COVID-19 recommended by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia, the Institute of Public Health of Serbia “Dr Milan Jovanovic Batut” and the World Health Organization, meant for parents and their children:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub: before eating, after toilet, after wiping your nose, after playing outside, touching pets, and after touching your nose and mouth.
- Cover your nose and mouth with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue immediately into the trash bin and wash your hands.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid companionship and close contact with people who have fever, who are coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid shaking hands and kissing.
Given the specific needs of children in extraordinary circumstances, it is possible to formulate some general recommendations regarding children’s’ behavior during the COVID-19 pandemics:
- It is preferable not to separate children from their parents in crisis situations.
- The epidemic situation implies that children and parents spend most of their time together, and these are conditions that should ensure optimal functioning should family relationships be adequate.
- Direct children (and families) to maintain relationships, while maintaining social distancing, with persons who are (were) sources of support – members of the extended family, relatives, neighbors, friends …
- Support of the loved ones will have the effect of reducing stress and will provide a sense of greater security.
- It is very important for the well-being of children for their time to be structured. This means that time is organized as to maintain certain routine activities.
- Meals – monitoring school and activities related to school – leisure – meal – rest, etc.
- The predictability of these activities gives children a sense of security and stability. Older children may also have certain duties, for example taking care for younger children, the elderly (if safe and possible), attending easier and less complex jobs in the household.
- It is necessary to be honest in answering children’s questions.
- It is expected for children to be interested – when will the state of emergency end?
- Children should not be given false promises about the situation being resolved quickly. This way, children will not be prepared for the possibility of long-term uncertainty.
- It is easy to feel overwhelmed by all the information you are currently hearing and reading about the novel corona virus disease (COVID-19).
- It is normal for your children to be anxious.
- Children may find it difficult to understand what they see on the internet or television, or hear from other people – so they may be especially prone to feelings of anxiety, stress and sadness – it is important to comfort them and answer all of their questions to the best of your ability
- Open communication with children can help them understand the situation, and even for them to make a positive contribution to others.