How to Quarantine with Kids

Your small child is healthy and attending daycare — and then you get word that she has been exposed to COVID-19 and must quarantine. Now what? How do you quarantine with kids?

First, let’s be realistic. You can’t send your infant or toddler to his room for 14 days and keep him out of touch with the family. At least one family member will have to care for the young child, even if that child is in quarantine.

That means that both the caregiver and the child will need to be isolated. 

If possible, choose someone who is not in a high-risk population to be the caregiver. Line up helpers to deliver groceries and help with laundry, cleaning, and caring for other children in the household.

Avoid sharing

Don’t share dishes with your child, do less snuggling and kissing, and wash up frequently. It is possible for adults to catch coronavirus from children. 

However, you can’t keep six feet away from your young child. A young child cannot understand social distancing. 

Wear a mask. If your child is over age 2, she can also wear a mask.

Wash hands (and other skin that makes contact with your baby,  including breast skin if you’re nursing) after contact with your child. Wash the baby, too.

Explain to siblings that brother or sister is sick and needs to have some time alone to get better. 

Make a safe environment

Keep windows open if possible, and use fans to improve ventilation. This will help avoid having droplets hanging around in the air.

Clean surfaces frequently. Disinfectant wipes can be a convenient way to keep surfaces clean.

It might be hard for a small child to accept that a beloved blankie or stuffed toy needs washing. If your child is too upset at the idea, let her keep the love object, but be sure to wash your hands if you touch it.

Your sick child should sleep apart from other family members, even if that seems harsh. If his adult caregivers get sick, he will be in a more difficult position.

Self care

Lower your standards a little bit while you and your child are in quarantine. Allow TV, Face Time, and take out food. Accept an untidy house. You can get back to your normal family life once you’re through with the quarantine.

Accept help, too. Let friends and neighbors bring meals and drop them off at your doorstep, encourage grandparents to read a story via FaceTime or Zoom while you get some rest, and encourage other members of your household to pick up the slack when it comes to chores. 

Follow the CDC guidelines to decide how and when to quarantine. Contact your child’s pediatrician with any questions.