As the world addresses Coronavirus, we understand you may be bracing for potential disruption to daily life. Helping our families and caregivers like you manage child care is what we’re here for, and continue to be. We want you to continue to be successful with the families your work with—especially during this significant moment in time.
What Do I Need to Do?
To keep you and the population around you safe and healthy, pay attention to credible sources of information about the disease. The Centers for Disease Control has a thorough website with updates of the latest information about COVID-19.
In terms of individual protection, there are measures that you and your family can start adapting today (i.e. thorough hand washing, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces frequently). Here’s the full CDC preparedness recommendation.
Child Care in Emergencies
Caregivers Have Had Practice
As someone who works with kids all the time, you’re used to germs being a constant battle. You’ve had practice in being conscious about keeping yourself and the kids in your care healthy. Keep doing the things you already do:
- Bring hand sanitizer and tissues with you everywhere.
- Make handwashing a regular ritual of hot water, soap, and a fun 20-second song to engage the little ones. Don’t forget the fingernails!
- Disinfect surfaces and toys.
- Be smart about caring for sick people. And if you’re sick, avoid exposing others.
Communication is Still Very Important
We all know that open and clear communication with families is the key to a healthy caregiving relationship. Those communication skills are now more important than ever.
1. Talk About Germs
Make sure everyone is on the same page about hygiene practices. Parents are usually concerned about their child’s well-being, but when there’s something new and alarming happening in the world, that concern can grow significantly. Continue to build trust with the families you work with by initiating a conversation about how you already address hygiene for yourself and with the kids and how more precautions can be taken as a care team.
2. Make Backup Plans
Be prepared for anyone to get sick. Talk through scenarios with the family about how the current plan would change if certain people got sick. This includes you, the parents themselves, the kids, or other caregivers in the picture. In last-minute situations, how can everyone’s schedule adjust and who’s on-call?
3. Routines Can Change
In the case of schools closing or parents needing to work from home, how would these situations affect the current child care plan? The more you can discuss how an environment could change for kids, the easier the transition will be on everyone.
Again, we hope that these measures are simply precautionary. In the event your community is affected by preventative school/work closures, you don’t want to be scrambling to sort things out with the families you work with. Take this unique moment in time to re-affirm yourself as a trusted source of support for their family.