This past weekend I noticed two frustrated but kind moms attempting to protect their young children from the COVID 19 virus. As I was waiting at the grocery checkout, a mom behind me was trying to keep her young boy from leaning on the register and touching the conveyor belt; she gently pulled him back three times, and two seconds later his busy hands were out again touching, exploring surfaces, as he smiled and chattered.
The second mom was at a rest area along the interstate between Phoenix and Los Angeles, which I drove to pick up my daughter as her campus closed two months early. The rest area’s toilets were down, so there were porta potties and handwashing stations. A mom was trying to get her two small kiddos to wash their hands properly and was becoming increasingly frustrated as they kept pushing the pedal to watch the water spurt. I noticed though as they walked away that she calmed and said, “Good job kids, we’re learning to wash our hands”.
While it would be best to leave the kids at home while grocery shopping, if this is not possible, bring along an engaging toy that can occupy their busy hands. Many kids are filling sensory needs as they touch and manipulate objects. Bring a variety of fidgets your kids can play with while waiting in line. Fidgets include spinners, squishy balls, mesh and marble toys, stretchy bands, and rubik’s cubes.
Handwashing is fun if mom or dad participate in rubbing parent hands on kiddo hands with lots of slippery soap! Sing a song to your kids for 20 seconds while you wash, and you are getting some good bonding contact with your kiddos as you both get clean. Know that soap doesn’t just wash off germs, it dissolves the lipid (fatty) layer of the corona virus and the structure literally ruptures and falls apart!
-Russ Yost, LMFT
-CFC Clinical Supervisor