COVID-19: Calgary mother in isolation gives tips on handling children in quarantine

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, orange, emerging from the surface of cells, green, cultured in the lab. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML

One Calgary mother is offering tips to parents now in isolation with their children, after Alberta schools cancelled classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ellen Percival, the publisher and editor in chief of Calgary’s Child Magazine, said there are important factors to remember when handling the outbreak — at home with your family.

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“Get the information you need, calm yourself down and then sit with your kids and talk about their fears and worries.”

Percival recently returned from a cruise around the Caribbean and has been self-isolating with her family since as a precautionary method.

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She said one of the most important aspects she’s found so far is open conversation.

“I think it’s really important that you all sit down and divide the family contract,” she said.

“Decide: What are our expectations, what do we think our biggest challenges are going to be and what strengths do we have?”

LISTEN: How to keep kids busy while under quarantine

The spread of COVID-19 in Alberta led the government to cancel classes in all kindergarten to grade 12 schools on March 15, along with in-person post-secondary classes.

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Licensed child care programs across the province have also been closed until further notice.

Percival said during these uncertain times, keeping a familiar routine is important, especially for children.

“You need to set up some structure, get up at the same time, have breakfast together. Routine is going to be so crucial for people,” she said.

“It’s important that kids have a routine. They can get up and go for a little walk, have some academic time, some creative time and some quiet time.”

Percival said she’s also found comfort in online research and resources, including workout videos and online art classes.

“Just dig deep,” she said. “You’ll see these resources popping up everywhere.”

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