Keeping children healthy this summer

June 15, 2020

Here are tips for parents and caretakers to help keep children emotionally and physically healthy this summer, as we continue to deal with implications from COVID-19.

As with so many aspects of life, this summer will likely differ from previous years as we continue to deal with the implications of COVID-19. For parents of younger children, that could mean a decrease in activities you would normally engage in and a heightened focus on maintaining good health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides tips for parents and caretakers to keep children healthy – emotionally and physically – during our current health crisis.

Teach and reinforce everyday preventive actions

Parents and caretakers play an important role in teaching children to wash their hands — one of the most important actions in preventing the coronavirus as well as other illnesses.

  • Explain to your child that hand-washing can keep them healthy and stop the virus from spreading to others.
  • Be a good role model — if you wash your hands often, your child is more likely to do the same.
  • Make hand-washing a family activity. Find ways to make it fun, like making up your own hand-washing song or turning it into a game.

Maintain well visits and immunizations

Stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders as a result of COVID-19 resulted in declines in outpatient pediatric visits and fewer vaccine doses being administered. As states reopen, the CDC encourages parents and healthcare providers to schedule well visits for children and bring them up to date with their vaccinations.

If you have medical coverage* through the Board of Pensions, the immunizations recommended in the Preventive Schedule are 100 percent covered (no deductibles, copays, or copayments apply) when you use network providers. Annual wellness exams with a primary care provider and health screenings at the intervals on the schedule are also 100 percent covered.

Make sure your child stays active

While some summer activities may be curtailed this year, it’s important to find ways to help your child stay active.

  • Encourage your child to play outdoors — it’s great for physical and mental health. Take a walk with your child or go on a bike ride.
  • Use indoor activity breaks (like stretch breaks or dance breaks) throughout the day to help your child stay healthy and focused.

Help your child cope with stress

Watch for signs of stress or behavior changes. Not all children respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes to watch for include

  • excessive worry or sadness;
  • unhealthy eating habits;
  • unhealthy sleeping habits;
  • difficulty with attention and concentration.

If you notice these types of changes and need support, the Employee Assistance Program** (EAP), administered by Cigna, is available to those with medical coverage through the Board of Pensions, your family members, and anyone living in your household. The EAP gives you access to licensed clinicians 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just call the EAP at 866-640-2772 and ask to speak with a clinician. Or, log on to Cigna’s website to schedule a call or search for an EAP provider (one-time registration is required; use pcusa for Employee’s Employer ID).

*Those enrolled in Triple-S, GeoBlue, or the Medicare Supplement Plan also have preventive care benefits under their plans, but coverage details may differ. Consult your plan’s provisions for details.

**The EAP is not available to members enrolled in Triple-S, GeoBlue, or the Medicare Supplement Plan.