We’ve talked before about the importance of making sure your child’s school is asthma-friendly. However, now that the world has shifted for a time during COVID-19, a new question must be asked. Is your child’s (home)school asthma-friendly?
Homeschooling Children with Respiratory Illness
Of course, the term “homeschool” must be taken humorously in the case of asthmatics. Creating an asthma-friendly homeschool is really no different than creating an asthma-friendly home. The only difference is making sure academic activities in a new setting don’t take a toll on your child’s health.
How Can You Create an Asthma-Friendly (Home)School?
Help your manage asthma or other respiratory illnesses by taking special care to do the following things.
1. Stay active.
When you’re stuck at home all day every day, it can be tempting (for both adults and children) to get low-energy and lethargic. In order to help their young bodies develop, children need to stay active. Asthmatic children, in particular, need to keep their lungs strong and healthy. Avoid spending excessive amounts of time in front of schoolwork or a screen. Try to get your child outside (and go outside with them!) several times a day if possible.
If your child suffers from exercise-induced asthma, be cautious about being overly active. However, all children require physical activity to stay healthy.
2. Improve air quality.
Airborne allergens and other pollutants are common asthma triggers. Since everyone is spending more time indoors these days, it is extremely important to make sure that the air you breathe is clean and fresh.
You can improve indoor air quality and reduce asthma triggers in several ways. Dust, vacuum, and clean regularly. Change your air filters often. Open your windows to let clean air circulate. Invest in an air purifier. Groom any pets often.
Your child’s lung health is worth the extra effort it takes to eliminate asthma triggers.
3. Take lung tests.
Even if you can’t get into the doctor’s office, at-home lung tests help you monitor the state of your child’s asthma. Lung tests provide important data that you and your doctor can use to develop an action plan for controlling your child’s symptoms and triggers.
Remember to log the results of your child’s lung tests so that you can refer back to it later.
4. Maintain a clean and calm learning environment.
For some children, anxiety is a major asthma trigger. The world is a fairly uncertain place right now. No one really knows what’s around the corner, and children can sense the anxiety and unease around them. Combat this additional stress by making sure that your homeschool is an anxiety-free environment. Speak calmly, stay organized, stick to a daily schedule, and clean often. If you are calm and organized, your child will stay calm and organized, reducing the risk of anxiety-induced asthma attacks.
5. Watch the weather.
Remember, airborne allergens occur both inside and outside the home. If you plan on going outside, check the forecast first to ensure that temperature and humidity won’t take a toll on your child’s lungs.
Additional Tips for an Asthma-Friendly Environment
In addition to improving air quality, taking lung tests, and reducing anxiety, your children can stay on top of their asthma by taking these steps.
- Following an asthma action plan.
- Continuing to communicate with his/her doctor (through the parent, of course).
- Bringing attention to recurring symptoms and triggers.
A Note to Parents about Homeschooling
At Aluna, we believe in supporting parents as much as possible and we know that schooling at home can seem intimidating for a lot of families. For those who have children suffering from respiratory illness, homeschooling can actually be a good thing. You’ve got this!
One of the benefits of homeschooling is the ability to tailor a child’s education to their needs specifically. That means you don’t have to worry about schedules or days lost to illness.
Keep a schedule, but stay flexible.
A daily schedule is necessary to maintain an organized learning environment. However, you can still be flexible. Interrupt a morning of schoolwork to take a walk, collect rocks and leaves, do a craft, bake something delicious, sing a song, or have a dance party. Do your best to make homeschooling a fun memory for your child.
Again, your schedule matters, but monotony is dangerous. Try to do something new or a little different each day.
This global pandemic isn’t forever. Someday, the world will be back to normal (even if it’s a new normal). Stay positive and cheerful in the meantime.