Coronavirus Explained – Practical Advice for Parents
Stay at home if you have a fever or a cough – that’s the latest Coronavirus advice from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as of Thursday 12th March 2020.
Here at Mumbler, the LAST thing we want to do is spread panic. So we’ve tried to explain Boris Johnson’s statement as easily as we can, while also sharing lots of practical advice and ideas for what you can do if you have to self-quarantine.
The UK is moving into the ‘delay phase’ of its coronavirus plan.
This means that at the moment, schools will stay open (although overseas school trips will be cancelled). People aged 70+ and/or anyone with long-term serious health conditions should not go on cruises. There isn’t currently a ban on big gatherings.
These recommendations may change in the future and have, stressed Mr Johnson, been guided by science. “We are not saying no to that sort of measures, of course not,” he said. “But it is very important… that we get the timing right.”
So what should you do if you feel ill?
Self-isolate at home for seven days if you have mild symptoms (persistent cough, shortness of breath or fever).
Only call 111 if your condition deteriorates. If you can use the internet to access 111 then do. This frees up the phones for the elderly and those who aren’t online.
Don’t visit your doctor – phone them instead.
Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds.
If you are self-isolating, stay in a room (by yourself if possible) with good ventilation and a window that opens.
Stay at least two metres away from relatives if you can.
Use a separate bathroom (if possible).
Sleep alone (if possible).
You can use your own garden, but don’t go for a walk.
For the most up-to-date information, visit the official Government website.
What if you are quarantined? How can you prepare without panic buying?
Easy things you can do now:
Double the recipe for dinner and freeze half. You can bulk things out with tins of lentils or pulses, using breadcrumbs when making meatballs, etc. They’ll be easy to pull out later if you are feeling ill or can’t get to the shops.
Put aside a few craft supplies. Poundland, Home Bargains, B&M, The Works and others sell lots of cheap bits and bobs and a new pack of pencil crayons, sticker book, colouring books or plasticine can buy you a few hours of quiet if everyone’s getting restless. Poundland had some great science kits in earlier today!
Borrow some books/DVDs from the library. Or if you haven’t used the World Book Week tokens, exchange them soon.
Download some audiobooks. You can loan them from the library (see here on how to do it) and books are automatically returned so you don’t have to worry about taking them back or fines.
Easy things to do if you are quarantined We’ll be sharing lots of easy activities you can do with kids at home. Keep tuned for inspiration.
A friend (she lives abroad) whose children are already quarantined gave me this advice:
“My big kids are six and four and the thing that is helping them the most is allowing freedom they don’t normally get at school. Yesterday I gave them a ton of random craft supplies and (clean) trash and said, do whatever you want. They had a BLAST for hours. Today I’m probably going to give them a roll of aluminium foil and tell them to call me when they are hungry. 😂 It’s nothing fancy but at school, everything is so structured so being able to do whatever they want in a controlled way is helping them feel less stuck and I get some sanity breaks.”
Other tips to try
Keep a positive attitude as much as you can and try and keep some kind of routine (easier said than done!). Remember, this too shall pass and there’s always Skype, Facetime, Whatsapp and other virtual ways of keeping in touch with others.
Exercise regularly (adults and kids), either in your garden or with a DVD at home. Yoga is a favourite in our house and Cosmic Kids’ YouTube channel is great for 20 minutes or so. There are lots of ideas for kids’ exercise circuits online, incorporating ideas such as bear crawls, star jumps, etc.
Quarantine might even provide the perfect opportunity to potty train, since you will be at home for a prolonged period of time.
Now might be the perfect time to teach a new skill to your little ones. Tying their laces for example.
If you have a garden, print off a scavenger hunt – there are lots of free ones online.
Look after your neighbours. If you’ve got elderly neighbours close by, they may be concerned about going out. Call in on them (or drop a note through their letterbox) offering to pop to the shops for them or simply to let them know that you’re there.
We hope that helps and that everyone stays healthy! If you have more ideas to share, do let us know in the Poole Mumbler Chat Group. In the event of a lockdown, we’ll be hosting watch parties there, so we (mums) can keep some sort of social interaction and support each other.
We’ll also update this blog with the latest information should the official advice change.