The Doctors’ Dr. Ian Smith’s Back-to-School Plan for 2020 Amid COVID-19

When it comes to sanitizer, masks and social distancing, even adults can become overwhelmed. So if you’re one of many parents worried about sending your kids off to school this fall, hoping they’ll abide by all new rules, Dr. Ian Smith has health tips that will help ease your nerves. Watch the exclusive video above to hear what the new Doctors host advises. 

An Open Dialogue

“Kids can actually understand more than we think they can understand. Studies have shown how resilient kids are, not just physically, but also mentally. Have an honest conversation about how difficult these times are,” Dr. Ian explained. He also thinks it’s important to tell your kids that “this is only temporary.” 

Arm Them With the Essentials

Dr. Ian suggests having extra PPE supplies in their backpack every day. “They need to have an emergency pack, if the school allows it,” he told Us. “They need to have gloves. They need to have an extra mask because kids lose things. And they need to have sanitizer and wipes.”

Dr. Ian Smith on Prepping Kids For School
Dr. Ian Smith

Make Masks Fun

“[Find one] with action figures on it or cartoon characters, whatever your kids like. Also, engage your child in a game where you’re wearing masks. A kid doesn’t understand: ‘Hey, you have to wear this because you don’t want to get sick.’ But a kid understands if wearing the mask becomes part of what we do,” he advised. “So practice at home or when you go out, make it more fun. So it’s less about ‘You gotta do this’ and more about, ‘Hey, isn’t this cool?’” 

The School Bus Conundrum

“The school bus is a big problem for me. I know that some people don’t have an option, but it would be the absolute last thing that I did, to put my kid on a school bus. It is an unsupervised area. The driver can’t supervise kids while they’re in the back. It’s very contained. There’s no air circulating system with filters.” Unlike travel in planes, school buses aren’t as protected. He explained: “Planes have HEPA filters which block out 99.7% of particles. School buses don’t have that. School buses for me are out of the question.”

After-School Precautions

When your kids get home from school, what are the protocols? Dr. Ian says: “I would [have them] change clothes. Make sure that kids understand that before you eat, before you touch your face, you’ve got to wash your hands or your sanitizer.”

Be Easy On Yourself and Your Kids

Although you can set every plan in place, the doctor admits that kids will be kids and you can’t expect perfection. “It’s not going to be perfect. And we can’t expect these kids to be perfect. And so that’s why it’s important to have a really firm dialogue with school administrators about what are their backup plans when plan A doesn’t work, they have to have plan B and plan C.”

Check your local listings to catch Dr. Ian on The Doctors premiering September 21. Plus pick up his latest book, Mind Over Weight, in bookstores and online now.

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