By Elizabeth Farnsworth, MD, PhD, Pediatrician
School is back in session! After thinking, consulting, researching, and reflecting, parents and guardians have made the decision to send children to school in-person or have them pursue virtual learning.
Below are some tips to help make the transition back to school easier for your children.
In Person Schooling:
- Keep in touch with the school and stay updated about changes and discuss these with your children.
- Focus daily on happy/fun things that happened in school.
- Reassure and support your children.
- Be an example by keeping your mask on while going into stores and other places.
- Keep your child home if they have a fever or are feeling under the weather.
- Have a schedule for your child to follow.
- If you have the ability, avoid doing schoolwork near or in bedrooms. Let bedrooms be strictly for rest and relaxation so that children can separate from the school environment.
- Keep up with the school to ensure that your child is not left behind.
- Ensure that your child is getting at least one hour of physical activity daily.
- Your child’s pediatrician, school, and virtual/local support groups are important resources that may help during this unique time. Don’t hesitate to reach out to any of them.
Questions parents may have:
How often should we wash cloth facemasks? The CDC recommends that facemasks be washed after every use. Your child should have at least two facemasks, so that one can be washed at the end of the day. Some companies sell facemasks in packs of five to help parents keep track.
Will my child be affected by constantly breathing in their own carbon dioxide? This is a common misconception about facemasks. The good news is that the fibers in facemasks are much smaller than oxygen and carbon dioxide molecules, which can pass freely without being retained, while droplets containing virus are larger and can be trapped. Some people do get anxious or hot while wearing facemasks, and should discuss this with their physician.
What if my child has sensitive/dry skin that reacts to constant hand-washing/ hand sanitizer? You many encourage her to use non-fragrant creams or emollients to protect their skin after every wash, or speak to his pediatrician about different options to ensure that your child is comfortable.
How else can I protect my child? Keep up on vaccinations and well-child checks. Flu season is upon us so it’s even more important to ensure your child is fully vaccinated to protected them against influenza and other vaccine-preventable respiratory illnesses.
As a pediatrician, I am constantly amazed by the resilience of children, many of whom are taking these changes in stride. However, there may be a source of anxiety for some children. Preparation and knowledge can help alleviate anxiety, especially if the adults in their lives provide support. If your child does not seem able to adjust, please discuss with their pediatrician.
What additional tips do you have to share? What questions would you like answered?
About Elizabeth Farnsworth, MD, PhD
Dr. Farnsworth joined the Great Falls Clinic in 2019 and is among the newer healthcare providers in the State of Montana. She works alongside Drs. Colleen Marron and Nancy Maynard in Pediatrics at the Great Falls Clinic main location. Dr. Farnsworth specializes in pediatric services including general pediatrics, developmental and behavioral medicine, preventative medicine, and in-office procedures. Dr. Farnsworth also has a special interest in patient education, global health and providing healthcare to underserved communities. She is currently accepting new patients at the Clinic Main Campus, 1400 29th Street South, Great Falls. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 406-454-2171.