Safe and Sane Tip # 6

Tools for Tuesday – physical and mental health tips – parent newsletter # 6

To protect our individual health it is important to :

  • Maintain a safe physical distance from people other than those who live in your immediate household. Do not get closer than 6 feet (the length of a cow or two calves, or to be safe, the length of a small car!) to neighbors or friends or anyone unless you live in under the same roof.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds – the amount of time it takes to sing the ABCs song if it is unfamiliar to you or time how long it takes to sing a favorite song  you’ve been wanting to memorize or teach your children.
  • Clean areas that are touched often in your home – door knobs, drawer knobs, the kitchen table – with regular household cleaners.
  • Avoid sharing personal items like towels, and wash towels and dishcloths often.
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or into your elbow to avoid spraying droplets on others.

These practices will help keep you safe, healthy and alive. 

During these times of disruptions and uncertainty, it is also important to make your mental health and your children’s mental wellbeing a high priority. 

To stay sane,schedule time to be outside and engage with nature. 

In the time of the COVID-19 virus we need to avoid people, not nature. We feel compelled to go out because we are social beings. Being locked up and isolated is against our nature. Growing research states a firm connection between time spent in nature and reduced stress, depression and anxiety.  

Therefore during this time of schooling at home, be sure to schedule plenty of time outside. 

  • Take a walk around your neighborhood. Notice how the trees are changing. Look for signs of spring, tiny bits of green emerging, snow drifts melting, ditches running, branches changing color as the sap rises and buds swell. Listen for birds. See what they are doing. Ask your child to count how many different kinds of birds she sees and to describe how she knows they differ.
  • Wave to your neighbors and smile but keep a distance – remember, the length of a cow or horse or small car between you and people you don’t live with in the same house.
  • In your own yard, trace the outline of a small square or circle anywhere on the earth. Have your child notice what happens within that space over time. Are there ants, butterflies or spiders visiting the area? Are there twigs, leaves from last year or green plants coming up? Does the earth change over time? Does it seem dry, wet, solid or crumbly? Check the area several times a day and every day for a week or longer. Take notes – good practice observing and writing. Make a short video. Make a book about this space in nature. 
  • Help your child find a comfortable and safe spot outdoors, perhaps under a tree where he can watch the birds and/or clouds over time.
  • Again, planning time outside and paying attention to nature and will provide helpful breaks during on-line learning, will provide non-screen time, and most importantly will encourage your child to find peace and sanity outdoors and to learn about nature and the species with which we share this earth.
  • Put a chair or blanket outside and read outdoors with your child. This creates a healthy association with the two activities together.