With the weather getting colder, COVID-19 and other illnesses, such as influenza and gastro bugs, are widespread in the community. The cost of essentials such as food, electricity and petrol are also rising, it makes it more difficult for parents and caregivers to keep their tamariki warm, happy and healthy this winter.
Pegasus Health’s Child Health Support Service Manager, Karen Meadows-Taurua, has tips for maintaining children’s winter wellness.
- Stop the spread of germs and sickness by ensuring your child washes and dries their hands regularly
- Get the flu Vaccine for your child, it is free for children aged 3-12 years old
- Keep your child at home when they are sick so they do not spread illness to others
- Keep warm – insulation, heating and ventilation keep your home warm and dry. Canterbury has curtain banks and a blanket bank and Community Energy Action has advice on saving power and keeping your home warm
- Keep homes and cars smoke-free
- Keep to established routines where possible such as regular meal times and bed times. Children often find routine comforting
- Turn devices off well before bedtime to help children get a better night’s sleep. Try to limit device time during the day too, and spend time playing, moving, or talking with your tamariki
- Try to eat as healthy as possible. (This newsletter has an article on how to eat well for less this winter. Cost-effective recipes and tips are also at puawai.org.nz or lovefoodhatewaste.co.nz)
- If your tamariki shares their feelings, validate them. For example, acknowledging that they are feeling frustrated or angry about all the things happening beyond their control
- If you or your tamariki need support, ask for it from friends, whānau or your general practice team.