So, what is Stage One and Stage Two of a pandemic, anyways? What do some of these terms and phrases mean to those who aren’t religiously refreshing the pages of online news outlets? What does it mean to those who are trying to use this time during self-isolation to curb their social media consumption and spend time doing the things they never really had time to do before all of this?
Well, Stage One is something we’re all quite familiar with at this point, whether or not we know exactly what the confines of that term is, as well as Stage Two, and perhaps even Stage Three and Four, though we haven’t quite reached that point yet.
Stage One is the protocol of basic safety measures that we hear reminding us everywhere, it seems, over the store speakers during our trips to the grocery or hardware stores to pick up provisions or some more supplies for our latest “project.” We already know to take the appropriate measures and are armed and ready with masks, gloves, wipes, and hand sanitizer before even entering civilization.
Thankfully, as stated by the Economic Times, the only country to experience Stage Four of this pandemic is China, where there are many cluster infections because of the high density of people. Also, despite such heavy limitations and a large number of cases, lockdown and self-quarantine has been lifted. However, both the essential workers and the common people stay watchful and maintain proper safety measures as to avoid the return of the outbreak. Their tenacity shows us in the western hemisphere that even with getting hit with the worst, as long as we all stay patient and as we stay disciplined with our healthy practices, keeping a vigilant eye out for our families as well as our community alike, we too can recover and offer a better world to our children we love and care for so dearly.
That begs the question: What can we do to protect our children through the first two stages of this pandemic so we don’t risk heading into the more dangerous territory that lies in stages three and four, and even the lesser spoken of: the dreaded Stage Five and Six?
We all know what to do by now when we’re picking up groceries for the week, and the rules within the walls, so-to-speak. A once arduous midweek mission has turned into an organized, but still daunting endeavor nevertheless. But, what can we do to properly protect our children, whom no one wants to scare into never, ever leaving the house again? If we can leave them at home with a parent, this makes grocery shopping quicker and less stressful, not having to worry about more masks to wear or hands to wash. And, while out in the fresh air and hopefully a nice walk in the park in areas that allow it, we do our best to keep things happy and light when we see our favorite playground covered in glaring yellow caution tape prohibiting our children from one of their few joys in the outside world.
The CDC has a few tips to help keep your children happy and healthy while their beloved parks are carefully guarded off like crime scenes. And, the fact that there is no school does take a toll on them because they miss their friends and the structure of their school schedule and extracurricular activities. All this can be exhausting not only for them, but you, and your patience for that matter.
They suggest maintaining a good sleep schedule, sectioning off times to learn, and keeping mealtime consistent during the week while keeping it flexible so there’s a little less fuss. This consistency will give them the very much needed sense of normalcy even when it seems like there is none. This also helps ready them for returning to school and other scheduled activities whenever that may be.
Based on the most recent evidence, children are not at a higher risk than adults and generally show milder symptoms, similar to the common cold. Therefore, though we should be careful even as self-quarantine ends and things gradually let up, we shouldn’t be afraid to have a little fun every now and then. Perhaps inviting your children for a hand-held trek around the neighborhood might give them a healthy dose of fresh air, or even drawing on the driveway with chalk might give them a chance to get a little messy. For those in apartment buildings, try showing them all the fun we had as children finding shapes in the clouds, or using dry-erase markers to dream up a real concrete jungle. Creativity is key, and that doesn’t have to mean compromising the rules, your sanity, or your living situation.
All this being said, though it may seem to benefit the child and the parent in slightly different ways, it also helps the family unit as a whole. This is a difficult change for all of us, big or small, and we should make the best of this and work together as harmoniously as possible.
When the world is facing a pandemic causing such division, the family should stay united, knowing that we are all tackling the many challenges and changes together. Though this all may seem like a set back, it can be turned into a great opportunity to laugh together, make some fun memories, and even cry when things get to be too much at times.
Let’s all use our imagination and dream up a better world—one that we can tackle and move forward in, without trepidation. Let’s keep our heads up and give the next generation who will one day adopt all that we’ve planned, created, destroyed, rebuilt, and revived, something to look forward to grabbing hold of and also passing down to the many generations yet to come.