With large gatherings in many places paused or canceled at the moment, we may be entertainment-starved, missing live concerts, circuses, you name it. However, there is one other place you could check out mind-boggling juggling acts – right at home.
Working from home or office while caring for kids and keeping everyone physically AND mentally healthy is no mean feat. If the “worst” does happen and a parent/caregiver’s COVID-19 test shows up with double lines, what do you do?
Who shall care for my children if I/my partner falls ill?
Do make plans before a parent falls sick. (We hope that you read this in time!)
For families where single parents or all parents/caregivers test positive for COVID-19, especially if you have very young children, consider having a loved one care for them for the time being. This could be an aunt or uncle, a family friend, or even a neighbor. Let this person know beforehand what the plan will be if your children ever need to stay with them for a bit. While we should always hope for the best, it can be hard to tell how long you may take to recover.
Do be mindful that elderly adults or grandparents, while they may have the best intentions, have an increased risk for severe illness. It may be better to consider others to care for your children.
If I am self-isolating at home, how do I lower the risk of my loved ones getting infected?
Prepare a home quarantine plan. If you are well enough to recover at home, reduce contact with your household members as much as possible. If one out of two parents fails ill, your partner who is healthy can take charge of the children. However, take precautions as all members at home could have been exposed. It would be great if you could isolate in a room with an ensuite bathroom, to reduce contact with the others.
Personal protective equipment would never hurt - mask up as much as possible – your family too, especially if they need to pass you something or come a little closer. This might make communication with the children tricky. As parents, there is a so-close-yet-so-far feeling with your children, and they may feel the same. Always remember that this arrangement is temporary, and for everyone’s safety. Come up with creative ways to communicate! You could go digital and video call, speak over the phone or send daily catch-up emails:)
It’s a team effort to keep the household running when you’re ill; be kind to yourself. Have open conversations with your partner or a close one if you need to talk about your situation. There is also a wealth of resources online, with accounts from other parents and how they had managed in similar situations.
Prepare your children
Last but not least, be honest with them about how you are feeling and the plan for the next few days/weeks, without scaring them. COVID-19 is very infectious and we never know how or when we might get infected. However, what we can do is handle our rest and recovery as well as possible. Be calm and reassuring and explain what will happen next in a step-by-step manner.