SAN ANTONIO – Missed our first ‘Parenting in a Pandemic’ livestream last week? From safety and school to screen time and boredom, here’s a recap of some of the key topics local experts discussed with anchor Myra Arthur. See the full show in the video player above.
1. When should young children be tested for coronavirus?
While the coronavirus is often recognized by upper respiratory symptoms in adults, diarrhea has proved to be a common symptom of the virus in children. Dr. Tess Barton, a pediatric infectious disease doctor with UT Health San Antonio’s Long School of Medicine, says this is usually the first symptom followed by fever, headaches and long-lasting coughs. If a child is showing these symptoms and or has a known exposure they should be tested for the virus.
“What we don’t routinely recommend is testing children who have no symptoms,” Dr. Barton said. “Testing them just to test them doesn’t have a very good yield and might be confusing to everybody.”
2. How to make remote learning as successful as possible
Whether students are distance-learning or going to campus, Inga Cotton, founder of San Antonio Charter Moms, says it’s important for both parents and kids to stick to a schedule and get enough sleep.
“When we lose some of the anchors in our lives it’s really easy to get off schedule with sleep. If you don’t have to get to school at a certain time for drop off, then you feel like ‘we can just take it easy and stay up later’. But then before you know it you could be shifted by hours,” Cotton said.
Cotton said that while this might not be feasible for younger kids, she gets her 10- and 13-year-old involved in color-coding their own schedule.
3. Make sure screen time is valuable
Many parents are concerned about how much time their kids are spending in front of a screen.
If students are learning remotely, they are surely spending much more time on the computer. Plus, with social distancing measures in place, more and more kids are using technology as their sole way to maintain friendships.
Melody Montano, a licensed counselor with the San Antonio Counseling and Behavioral Center, says it’s okay for parents to loosen the reigns when it comes to phone or commuter use. Cotton’s advice is to simply make sure any screen time is valuable whether that value comes in the form of education or social connection.
4. Back to the basics
Montano says while parents might be worried about a lot of things surrounding the pandemic, the most basic of habits can be the most telling. She urges parents to watch for whether their children are eating, behaving or even keeping up with hygiene like they normally would.
“We have to be ok with being human beings right now because we are in survival,” Montano said. “We’re not all ok. The kids are not ok. The parents are not ok. The teachers are not ok. And that’s ok because nobody has it figured out right now.”
If you still have questions or concerns surrounding kids and coronavirus, leave them below for our experts to answer during the next ‘Parenting in a Pandemic’ livestream.