By Henry Wiegand
Child care settings, especially that in private homes, have been dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. From reduced numbers of children attending child care settings as more parents remain home or face financial uncertainty, to loss of income and the risk to health of staff and children, the child care industry has been forced to adapt. Plus, caregivers hired to work inside the private homes of children and families are forced to reduce their outings to help slow the spread of the virus.
If you’re someone caring for children at home, or of you’re a caregiver who’s placed in a private home setting, then you’re not alone. While the pandemic has made it hard to do child care with such procedures such as social distancing, you can still get educated about maneuvering through these rough times as a child caregiver.
Here are some of the strategies the child care industry is putting in place to ensure that settings are safe for staff, children and their families, especially those in private settings.
Use Of Face Masks And Social Distancing
Child care settings in the US are encouraging everyone over the age of 2 to wear a mask which covers their nose and mouth when attending a child care setting, apart from when eating or sleeping. Staff are also teaching children how to wear a mask correctly and modelling such behavior themselves.
Layouts within settings are also being modified to allow for social distancing. Where possible tables are being turned so that all children are facing the same direction, so as to minimize the spread of germs.
Teaching Children About Hand And Respiratory Hygiene
Child care settings have increased their focus on teaching children about the importance of hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
“As well as showing children how to correctly wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water, they are also being shown how to cover their coughs and sneezes. Children are taught to properly dispose of dirty tissues and to immediately wash their hands afterwards,” explains Jenny Anthony, a health writer at Draftbeyond and Gumessays.
As well as having hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol readily available, children and staff are also required to wash their hands upon arrival at the setting, before and after meal times and after using the bathroom.
Creation Of “Cohorts”
Where possible, many child care providers have separated children into “cohorts”. Cohorts remain separate from one another and do not mix in communal areas, including dining areas or gardens. Staggered access times are now in force for communal areas in many settings, including private homes.
Increased Cleaning And Sanitizing Of Toys
Cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces and toys have increased across the child care industry. Toys are only being used by one group at a time and are disinfected before being used by a different group. Cloth toys are limited to being used by one child at a time, whilst toys which can be chewed or put in mouths are being entirely removed, if they cannot be sanitized between children.
Outdoor Play Areas
To minimize the risk of COVID-19, outdoor equipment is being repositioned so as to encourage more physical distancing between children. Child care settings with multiple cohorts are also staggering the use of outdoor play areas to reduce crowding and to ensure that equipment is cleaned between groups. Alternatively, other settings are creating separate “zones” within outdoor areas for different cohorts to access at the same time.
Limiting Physical Interaction With Parents
Nonessential visits to child care settings are being limited as much as possible. Parents are encouraged to observe social distancing when dropping off or collecting their child, as well as being asked to wear face masks whilst on the premises.
“To limit the mixing of children, some settings are using different entrances for different cohorts, and some children’s drop-off and pick-up times are being staggered to help reduce crowding,” says Hannah Cottingham, a parenting blogger at Writinity and Researchpapersuk.
Whilst cases of COVID-19 have been generally mild in most children, the wider socioeconomic effects of the pandemic have negatively impacted the health and wellbeing of many. However, the changes to the child care industry in response to the pandemic have been crucial in ensuring that settings – especially caregivers (parents and private) who live in the home – are kept safe during this challenging time.
Henry Wiegand is a successful business development manager at Finance Assignments and Lab Report Writing Service. He has been involved in numerous projects and especially enjoys working with small businesses to support them to thrive in challenging circumstances. In his spare time, Henry enjoys reading and writing about business development.