A Fresh Start Guide: Your Family and COVID-19
We know that these sudden changes can be overwhelming.
Being able to plan and prepare accordingly, will help alleviate some of the stress your family could be experiencing.
With some of the information you need to get started, we will walk you through a process to stay safe, healthy and conflict free- allowing you to remain as supportive as possible and focus on building positive memories during an otherwise difficult time.
Make sure you are prepared. Don’t panic.
Make a plan, reassess and stay happy.
Is your home prepared?
A COVID-19 outbreak could last for a long time in your community. Depending on the severity of the outbreak, public health officials may recommend community actions designed to help keep people healthy, reduce exposures to COVID-19, and slow the spread of the disease. Local public health officials may make recommendations appropriate to your local situation. Creating a household plan can help protect your health and the health of those you care about in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community. You should base the details of your household plan on the needs and daily routine of your household members.
Talk with people who need to be included in your plan
Meet with household members, other relatives, and friends to discuss what to do if a Covid-19 outbreak occurs in your community and what the needs of each person will be.
Any plan you come up with might work for today, and may no longer be applicable as new information comes out. Remember, we are all in this together, so keep the lines of communication open, and listen to good advice that could help.
Preparing emotionally is an important part of this journey. Preparing well will help you to adjust quicker and save money, time and your sanity.
Take a moment to plot where you are on the curve shown here and then where you think your family members are.
As a general rule of thumb, changes in routine can have different levels of impact on different people. Some people could already be at ‘Explore’ and ‘Commit’ stages, while others may be at the ‘Deny’ or ‘Resist’ stage.
To move forward with a productive and inclusive plan for you and your family you all need to be near the ‘explore’ stage. So, if you or some members of the family are still at the earlier stages of the curve, don’t rush. Progressing too fast usually ends in conflict and can feel frustrating for the instigator.
Certain plans can be made now…others down the road. Remember, creating a plan together is one that has the most buy-in.
Create a household plan of action
Keep up to date with important information in your area
Keeping up to date with relevant information is of utmost importance. The Alberta Health Services has a website with updated and factual information. Visit the site here
Make special plans for those at greater risk
So far, early data suggests older people are more likely to have serious COVID-19 illness, as well as those more affected by respiratory illness. Be sure to talk to your healthcare professionals to plan accordingly.
Get to know your neighbors
Talk to your neighbors about emergency planning. If your neighborhood has a website or social media page, consider joining it to maintain access to neighbors, information and resources.
Identify aid organizations in your community
Create a list of local organizations that you and your household can contact in the event you need access to information, health care services, support and resources. Consider including organizations that provide mental health or counselling services, food, and other supplies.
Create an emergency contact list
Ensure your household has a current list of emergency contacts for family, friends, neighbors, carpool drivers, health care providers, teachers, employers, the local public health department, and other community resources.
Practice good personal health habits and plan for home based actions:
Practice everyday preventative actions
There are a few actions that are good to review with all members of your family. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Stay home when you are sick, except for medical care. Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects. A list from the CDC of approved products can be found here
Wash your hands
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. A fun way to ensure you its 20 seconds is to find your favorite song and create a poster here
With all schools closed down due for the foreseeable future, planning and ensuring your children’s education is not affected is essential.
Schools are currently navigating ways to ensure your children continue to receive meaningful learning resources, documents and materials to support student learning.
Online learning can be difficult, so by ensuring your kids have a productive space to study and a set schedule to learn the materials will ensure the most productive outcomes.
For those kids who are having a difficult time understanding some of the information out there, here is a great guide on ‘How to talk to your kids about Coronavirus’
Working from home poses its own challenges. With careful planning, and follow through, you could increase your productivity and your free time.
Start early and develop a routine
It is very easy to start procrastinating when working from home. Developing a set schedule for starting time, deadlines and breaks will transition your efforts into effective habits.
Creating an area centered around productivity that is separate from your daily private life will
help you focus. Having a discussion with your kids about ‘office hours’ will help with distractions.
Technology is your friend – Facebook is not. There are lot of tools created to assist you in ensuring you maintain productivity. From team communication tools like Slack, to video conferencing software like Zoom, keeping in touch with your team is as easy as ever. Microsoft Planner, Google Hub and many more options will keep your projects on task.
Be sure to enjoy this unique opportunity, If you frame this as a negative, it will be difficult to overcome. Working from home can certainly have its advantages, as long as you plan accordingly.
Family time and conflict management
At Fresh Start we believe that we all need to listen so we can be heard. We can plan a lot of family fun events during a staycation, but sometimes different personalities can create conflict, especially as time progresses. We believe you can overcome these with a bit of H.E.A.R.T
Being honest means being open and truthful regarding our interactions or even our feelings. Have confidence that honesty will lead to better, more open conversations. Remember, being vulnerable about what you’re feeling shows an incredible amount of strength.
Engagement means you are simply present. You are present for work, for school, or for the important conversations that need to happen. During a conversation practising active listening skills, paraphrasing what you’ve heard back to them and creating solutions together will bring you closer than ever.
During this time, each of us will be feeling different things at different times. Creating an environment where open and honest discussions can occur will provide the atmosphere of togetherness. Showing awareness of stress or anger will allow for a safe landing place for loved ones.
There is a vast difference between the fear of something, and the real danger it may occur. Navigating this opens our hearts to be vulnerable with each other.
We've all heard that trust is like a vase. We look at that same metaphor a bit differently. While what is lost may never be regained, the new element that we can find could bring us even closer. The choice is up to us. Trust and intimacy go together, it simply requires effort.
There are lots of different resources out there to help you plan during this outbreak. Be sure to keep up to date with current and factual information.
We look forward to helping you though this difficult time!
Download the guide here