Written by Jessica Ririhatuela (BNF’ Education Staff)
Recently the world has been hit by a pandemic. Everyone is talking about this outbreak and starting to worry about it. As public conversations around coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) increase, children who join in the BNF community may worry about themselves, their family, and friends getting ill with COVID-19.
As adults, we can play an important role in helping children make sense of what they hear in a way that is honest, accurate, and minimizes anxiety or fear. The BNF education team, through the Sebangau Ranger Community, created guidance to help the Sebangau Ranger members know more about COVID-19 and ways they can avoid getting and spreading the disease.
In our last meeting with the Sebangau Rangers before the social distancing precautions due to this outbreak, BNF education teams conducted a discussion about COVID-19. We held a presentation that talked about COVID-19 facts. Sharing accurate information and science-based facts about COVID-19 will help diminish kids’ fears and anxieties around the disease and support their ability to cope with any secondary impacts in their lives.
We teach them everyday actions to reduce the spread of germs and what they can do to practice healthy habits at home, school, and play to help protect against the spread of COVID-19. We try to emphasize that they can do a lot to keep themselves and others safe. For example, we introduced the concept of social distancing, focussed on good-health behaviours, such as covering coughs and sneezes with the elbow and washing hands. We also demonstrated why it’s so important to wash hands for 30-40 seconds with soap.
Considering that children spend lots of time in public places (school and public play areas) and may not have the best handwashing practices, we suggested they bring their own hand sanitizer. Washing hands with soap and water are the best way to get rid of germs but if those are not available, they can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol. We still suggested they wash their hands with soap and water as soon as they can. We also show how to apply hand sanitizer properly based on the WHO’s standards.
Each child practices step by step to make it and they can bring home their homemade hand sanitizer. These ingredients are easy to find so they can continue to make their own. Hopefully, with teaching them about COVID-19, they will be able to prevent the spread of the virus and keep their community healthy.