How can you keep socializing during the pandemic?
Staying home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus has posed plenty of challenges for adults, and parents trying to find ways to encourage their children to be social have faced extra difficulties.
Children who are returning to school next month will get some of that social interaction there, but until then and for others who aren’t going back in the fall, there are some options to get children some safe play time.
“Outside play is a really good option,” Dr. Gabrielle Roberts, psychologist at Advocate Children’s Hospital. “Parents can arrange bike rides, picnics, any sort of outside activities you can do at a distance.”
Experts suggest the virus doesn’t spread as well outside as it does indoors. Still, keeping distance and wearing masks are still important.
Dr. Roberts said some families have chosen to create “bubbles” with other families, letting their kids play with kids from families they trust have been taking COVID-19 precautions.
“We’ve gotten real creative a couple times and did drive-by play dates, says Dr. Kevin Dahlman, Medical Director for Aurora Children’s Health in Milwaukee. “We take the kids in the car, we stay in the car, but at least just to be able to see each other…has been a real fun experience for my kids.”
The Internet can help, too, even as parents try to limit kids’ time with screens. The human contact that phones and tablets can provide can help children meet their social needs,
“especially those apps that enable our children to see each other and communicate in real time,” Dr. Roberts says.
“Obviously, as a parent, you want to be very well aware of who your children are talking to online,” Dr. Dahlman says. “That they’re not meeting strangers or doing anything like that. But, safely, it really can be a very nice social outlet.”
Dr. Roberts, Dr. Dahlman and others weighed in on these topics, whether kids should go back to school and more during a Facebook Live event. You can watch the full video below.
About the Author
Mike Riopell, health enews contributor, is a media relations coordinator with Advocate Aurora Health. He previously worked as a reporter and editor covering politics and government for the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald and Bloomington Pantagraph, among others. He enjoys bicycles, home repair, flannel shirts and being outside.