COVID-19: 3 Important Tips for Parents with Infants

April 3, 2020

Our lives have changed drastically over the last few weeks due to COVID-19, particularly parents with infants and toddlers. Maybe your child care provider has shut down and you’re spending more time at home with your little one. Perhaps you’re afraid of your child getting the coronavirus, having trouble multitasking, or questioning your parenting during this crazy time.

ChildSavers’ CDS Workforce Development Coordinator, Alisha Saunders-Wilson, shares three helpful tips for parents at home with infants or toddlers during COVID-19.

1) Engage in Play

coronavirus covid-19 tips for parents with infants and toddlers

With infants and toddlers, play means getting on the floor. Imitate and respond to their facial expressions and vocalizations. Look at bright picture and pattern books together. Stack lightweight blocks and cups on the floor or sing songs. But most importantly, be present.

This is a very strange time in history and we must live in it with our children. Let them know they’re a priority, not a distraction.

2) Sanitize!

According to the CDC, the coronavirus is mainly spread through person-to-person interaction or contact with respiratory droplets. This is near impossible with infants and toddlers who need to be constantly picked up and coddled. Not to mention the fact that babies love putting everything in their mouths.

Easy ways to keep babies and their parents protected against infection include:

  • Singing 20-second songs during handwashing to make sanitization fun. Song suggestions include The Happy Birthday Song (2 rounds) or Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (sung twice).
  • Wash hands after eating, diaper changes, and trips to the bathroom.
  • Non-porous toys: Wash with warm soapy water, spray with disinfectant spray, and allow to dry. Do this at least once per day.
  • Soft toys and blankets: Run through the washing machine as often as you can.

3) Be Patient with Adjusting To This New Schedule

The biggest adjustment for parents is a new schedule and dealing with a “new normal” for the foreseeable future. Be patient and give yourself (and your kids) some time to adjust. Consistency is key for children. Comfortability and reliability will help smooth the transition.

Any change to your new schedule is a step in the right direction. Simple things like waking up and going to be at a normal time will make a big difference.

infants toddlers covid-19 how to

As we navigate this challenging time together, I ask that you give yourself some grace. Nothing and no one is perfect. Don’t fear the messes and try to relish every moment.

Alisha Saunders-Wilson is the Child Development Services Workforce Development Coordinator here at ChildSavers. She’s also the Virginia Quality Infant and Toddler Program Specialist. Within these roles, Alisha oversees the Infant Toddler grant funding and works directly within the programs.

When working within a program, it could be in various capacities. Alisha coaches directors in navigating the levels of the Virginia Quality Rating Improvement System (VQRIS) as they strive to raise the quality of care they offer families. However,  she primarily works with infant and toddler teachers in their classrooms through modeling best practice techniques using practice-based coaching.

She also provides out of the classroom trainings catered to infant and toddler teachers on a wide variety of topics. Her team works to clarify social-emotional behaviors, improve the quality of their interactions with the children in alignment with the CLASS tool, and introduce new ideas to bring into the classroom for the children to enjoy. More than anything she has learned that intentional, positive interactions are the foundation for a healthy and supportive learning environment. Alisha supports our community’s early education teachers as they build their skillset and their understanding of child development to provide these safe spaces for infants and toddlers to explore the world around them and grow.