Updated: May 6, 2020
How to Protect Your Family During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Today we’re talking about what has consumed us as a nation and a world, the Covid-19 pandemic. We’re going to discuss what it is that we as parents need to do to make our families safer during this unprecedented time.
This will be a two part series. In this first part we’ll talk about things you can do immediately to increase your safety and things to plan for in the future. The continuation of this series, we will talk about potential crime and what we can do to better our communities.
Most of us have spent the last week or so in voluntary quarantine or social distancing. We’re working from home, homeschooling and doing everything that we can from our house.
Others, like me, have seen income disappear because things like sports and events have gone away. And people are no longer allowed to eat in restaurants so they’re closing. So this virus is affecting us in so many ways without actually being sick.
This really is a time like none other.
I could go on for a while about how society has changed, but that’s not the point of this article and podcast. We do however need to realize that things have changed and because of that we need to act differently, at least for a little while.
Pandemic Go Bag for the Car
First up, let’s talk about what we can do right now to protect our family in the pandemic. If you have available supplies, I want you to make a go bag for every car you have. A go bag is a collection of things you’d need to have on hand in the event of an emergency.
Chances are you had a go bag or “hospital bag” when your wife was pregnant and you needed clothes, medicine and baby stuff ready to go at a moment’s notice. So let’s do that again, but for personal health.
Yes, we are supposed to stay home and I encourage you to be home for as long as you can. But there will come a time where we have to go to the grocery store or hit the drive through because your family misses Chick-fil-a Waffle fries. It’s in these instances where I want you to have what you need with you in case you have an emergency while you’re out.
In this go bag you need wet wipes. We’re parents, we learned that wet wipes are good for just about anything! Vomit, check! Runny noses, check! World wide pandemic, check! These will be good for cleaning hands, faces and objects we may encounter while we’re out.
Next in the go bag is a basic first aid kit. You need bandages, Neosporen, alcohol wipes - the typical stuff. If you have a first aid kit in your car already, then you’re good to go. And to go along with the kit, some nitrile gloves are a good idea as well
I shared on Instagram the other day that I have a zippy bag of gloves in sizes for adults and kids in my car. These can be used for all sorts of things, but they’re not needed for everything. But we’re not ER doctors. Washing our hands and using common sense go a long way!
You can also put other useful things in your bag like maps, rain ponchos, batteries, bottled water, a blanket, work gloves and duct tape to get some peace and quiet on the road. That last part was a joke. Don’t AT me.
While I do have a carefully procured EDC (Everyday Carry), I don’t have room in my pockets for all of this extra medical stuff. I’m considering a sling bag as a go bag to keep on me. Judge me all you want. But if you’re going to do this, please don’t get a fanny pack. The world is difficult enough as it is, we don’t need to bring back 90s fashion. America just can’t take that right now.
Mental Health Matters
Another thing we can do now is make our mental health a priority. Right now we are under a lot of stress, while it may not seem like it if you have a family of four and you’re working from home, while being a rookie homeschool teacher - things can get crazy.
Make sure you’re finding some time to breathe, relax the best you can and chill the best way you know how. Talk to your wife about how she’s doing and make communication a priority so things don’t get bottled up inside and explode into words you can’t take back. Patience is going to be important during this time
Plus, don’t assume your kids are naive to what’s going on. Talk to them about what they are feeling. If they have questions, answer them the best you can. If you think the news is too scary for them, turn it off. We can’t assume or kids are okay, we need to know.
Chances are your kids are missing their friends. If you can try Facetiming with their friends so they can chat and be social. I’ve seen entire classes meet up on a Zoom call just so they can see each other. Being social is very important to them so don’t let that get lost in all of this.
We also need to make sure our kids have something to do. In times like this teenagers can get rowdy and start doing things they normally wouldn’t do like steal, drink or get high and drive. So keep an eye on them to make sure they’re not acting out in some way. Remember that the teenage brain can’t cope like ours can. That’s not an insult, it’s just human development.
Do make the most of this time. Play, laugh and learn with your family. Don’t think of this social distancing as a penalty, there’s lots of good that can come from this time together. I just published an article and bonus podcast all about taking this opportunity to teach some valuable life skills To get some ideas, check out Teaching Life Skills in Quarantine.
Prediction: School is Out
Those are some of the things we can do now, let’s talk about the future. In my opinion, and only my opinion, I think public school is done for the year in all states. I think our kids have been to school in a normal class setting for the last time in the 2019 - 2020 academic year.
The state of Kansas has already done it and honestly I thought they were nuts when they announced it. But the more I see this situation develop, the more wisdom I see in that action. School closings can happen at the national, state and district level.
We’re all trying to flatten the curve and it may take a lot longer to flatten it out that we think. Keeping hundreds of small humans out of close contact with one another for a few months, might help flatten that curve better than anticipated. This pandemic might not subside until July or August which might push back the start of the 2020 - 2021 school year. So start thinking about taking care of your kids at home for that long.
I’m going to talk more about crime in a pandemic in part 2 of this series, but I want to put a thought in your head today. In some extreme cases, communities might become unstable due to local social unrest - not nationally - just local. I want you to plan out now a place you can go if your home becomes unsafe for whatever reason.
Just like you plan to evacuate for a hurricane or a wildfire, make a plan to go somewhere safe if you must. But I do want to encourage you to stay home and stop the spread of this virus. Wash your hands and use common sense and we’ll be fine!