This is not intended to cause panic or to sell product. Coronavirus is more than just a hot topic right now. Beyond the funny memes, and the countless emails from businesses telling you what they're doing to minimise disruption, there is a very real virus. The last thing I want to do is add to the panic because we don't need that right now.
As a mother of three — 5 years, 2.5 years, and a newborn — keeping my young family safe is at the forefront of my mind right now.
I've had many discussions with friends and family about the risks and recommendations. What has become clear to me is that there are a million different opinions on the matter.
With that in mind, I've taken a few moments to note down some of the precautions I've begun to implement recently. These steps are a mixture of common sense and increased diligence. They're the steps that are both achievable and practical for my family and me. If you find them helpful, then fantastic! By no means am I an expert on Coronavirus. I simply hope that by sending this email, I can help other mothers work out what is practical for them and their families.
At the moment, I'm making an increased effort to practise good hygiene. With three kids in tow, it can be easy for things to become a little relaxed. By taking more time to ensure cleanliness is a priority, I'm helping to reduce the spread of germs, and actively setting a good example for my kids.
How can I ask them to make sure that they're washing their hands properly if I'm skimping on the process? It's easy to skip some steps when I'm simultaneously trying to help my 2.5-year-old back into their pants. But education and leading-by-example are among the most powerful actions we can take.
These are the steps I'm taking to increase cleanliness:
- Hand sanitiser: I've never really relied on hand sanitiser in the past, but I've begun keeping a bottle in my bag for emergencies.
- Handwashing: I've become more vigilant around handwashing, and ensuring it's done properly — 20 seconds, with soap, then dry thoroughly — particularly before meals, and after the toilet. My eldest knows how to wash his hands, but I've been keeping a close eye on him to make sure he's not skimping.
Washing: I've been trying to wash clothing and bedding more frequently. With three kids, this can be a real mission, but if it helps kill a few germs, then it's worth it.
Regularly wiping down surfaces and toys: This has become a big part of my routine to help stop the spread of germs. I give everything a quick once over with a Dettol wipe, particularly before and after playdates.
I'm trying to encourage my two eldest to respect the personal space of others. It's not an easy task telling your 5-year old that it's best if they don't hold hands with their friends.
Some schools are beginning to support this by spacing desks and seats further apart where possible and teaching children about the benefits of keeping 1.5m apart.
I'm being extra careful with my newborn and discouraging people from touching. This is particularly important during school pick up and drop-off where you bump into friends, or other kids who just want to touch his face or hold him. I've found that the easiest way to discourage unwanted touching is to pop up the sun or rain cover on your stroller.
Food & Drink:
"No sharing" is the big rule in our house right now. We've been enforcing it strictly at home so that it translates when our kids are with their friends.
That means no sharing food, drinks, or utensils — literally anything that goes near your mouth.
I've also found that using sippy cups with handles is a great way to help keep their little hands away from the straw.
At the end of the day, there are so many precautions you can take. It's about doing what works for you and your family. Doing a little bit every day is better than wrapping yourself in plastic for one day, then deciding it's too hard and discontinuing preventative methods altogether.
Owner, Hatch Baby & Child