With my pediatric nurse practitioner hat on... The good news for parents everywhere is corona virus, aka Covid 19, is rare in children. Most children either have no symptoms or very mild symptoms. It is much more likely that your child will get sick with the common cold or the flu.
If your child has not yet been vaccinated against the flu, please go today for the vaccine. Getting the flu will make her more vulnerable to catching other infections, plus the flu kills children every year. She is more likely to die from the flu than from Covid 19.
Other measures you can take to protect your children: wash hands frequently. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer works well also (assuming it is at least 60% alcohol -- check the label). Keep your child home from school or daycare if he has a cold or other signs of illness. Call your doctor's office if your child looks sick -- don't just walk in!
Get your child outside for daylight, fresh air, and exercise every day that you are both well. If you are concerned about contact with others, you can easily avoid playground and busy parks. Find a quiet road to walk on and count squirrels, or birds, or rocks. Or play tag in the backyard for ten minutes -- this has the advantage of getting your child laughing and allowing him to discharge emotions aka "emptying her emotional backpack."
(Sleep consultant hat on again.) And keep your child well rested. A well rested child has a stronger immune system than an overtired one. Focus on prioritizing an early bedtime, between 6 and 7 pm for most children under six years old. Start naps on time or even early, at 12 pm for once-a-day nappers and 9 am and 1 pm for twice-a-day nappers after 4-6 months of age.
What if your child is sick and you have recently sleep trained?
There are no simple answers here. Try to maintain the sleep routine as much as possible while also allowing for flexibility.
For example, if your child recently weaned off milk at night, in most cases you should not offer milk again at night unless your child is vomiting or has a high fever and won't take other liquids. In that case, offering breastmilk or formula (during the first year of life) at night may make sense but you should make every effort not to let your child fall asleep while feeding. Once the vomiting or high fever has resolved, typically in 1-3 days, you should switch to offering only water at night.
Likewise, if your child recently learned to sleep alone in his room but may have a fever, you should go into his room promptly if he wakes up and cries during the night. If he flashes a huge grin at you when you enter, you can assume he's fine and give him a quick pat and leave again. But if he's sobbing and hot to the touch, of course you should take him out of the crib and attend to his fever. You may wish to give a fever-reducer -- check with your healthcare provider on the best options -- and then rock him until he feels better. Try to put him down drowsy but awake if you can. If you can't, it's okay. Just resume your good habits as soon as possible when he's feeling better. It may take a few days but with consistency, once he's well, he'll get back to his good habits.
If you have any concerns that your child is having difficulty breathing, please don't leave her alone. Call your healthcare provider immediately. Most should have after-hours emergency numbers to call. This is the time to use them. If you are worried about being a bother, call early and don't wait for 3 am! This is what pediatricians are for. In most cases they are able reassure worried parents over the phone. In a few cases, they will advise you to go to the emergency room.
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