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Advice on how parents can help explain social distancing to their young ones | Wear the Gown

Social distancing can be hard for all us, but as a parent it can be particularly hard to convince your kiddos to practice social distancing.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Social distancing can be hard for all us, but as a parent it can be particularly hard to convince your kiddos to practice social distancing — especially in the summer when all they want to do is play with their friends.

In this week's "Wear the Gown," Craig O'Neill introduces us to a pediatrician with CHI St. Vincent, with advice on how parents can help explain the idea to their young ones.

“They are wonderful vectors for illness, meaning that they transmit virus much better than kids do," CHI St. Vincent pediatrician with Dr. Iwrin said. "And I think it’s wise to as adults, try to model for children, and try to reinforce social distancing, encouraging use of masks in children over the age of two."

Easier said than done. The doctor said if nothing else keep it 10 kids or less and always keep teaching.

“And I know with my own children,” Dr. Irwin said. “I have been teaching them if we are going for a walk. And we come up to some neighbors that we know. Well, don't run up on them, give them some space respect their boundaries.”

The lessons of social distancing. For pediatricians there’s another issue impacted by COVID-19: Early childhood development.

“We reinforce that it is extremely important to continue to get your children’s well child visits," Dr. Irwin said. "The first two years of life are some of the most important and critical developmental times to screen for developmental delays, speech delays, developmental gross motor delays. Is your child developing appropriately?”

In short for those early childhood visits, for the vaccines that cover 16 other childhood diseases, or for ailments that are bothersome, don’t shy away from a visit.

“We have a couple of options. I’ve had several parents that are just terrifies to come in, but they want to know what’s going on. We have telemedicine options,” Dr. Irwin said.

Like drive thru testing, Dr. Irwin and her staff also do drive in service.

 “I think anytime I’ve gone to a family’s car and examine the child in the car so that they don’t have to worry to come in, that I think is always been a comforting measure,” she said.

As for Gov. Hutchinson’s recent announcement about getting back in classrooms, Dr. Irwin offers this:

“I think a lot of children, my children especially, are concerned about whether they’re going back to school in the fall," she said. "And they miss their friends and I think it’s important as a family to sit down and talk about it with them.”

Know that the pediatricians will find a way and a child’s health is at its best when there’s a good role model raising them.

“I think as parents we’re much better at taking care of our children’s health needs than our own, myself included sometimes, but we’re all doing our best, but I think that we need to set a good example,” Dr. Irwin said.

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