With the summer in full swing and many states and communities easing coronavirus restrictions, the temptation to come out of lockdown is growing. Doctors and scientists caution, however, that the novel coronavirus remains a threat. Dr. Jayme Albin offers advice on safe and exciting entertainment opportunities for kids of all ages.
Consider the Risk
Before you head out, take some time to evaluate the risk of your selected activity and the Covid-19 realities in your state. Review updates from local health authorities and consider the regulations are and how they might impact your plans. If you want to take your daughter to the park, for example, think about her ability to keep a mask on in public if that is required. Is it reasonable and practical to expect her to stay away from other children?
Make a Plan
It is worth picking an activity or outdoor spot that is not too heavily trafficked; planning an outing for “off hours” can also reduce exposure. If going outside is still too risky for you or your children, plan a virtual picnic with friends, or have a backyard excursion. You can also turn on a webcam from your favorite venue or a video tour of a national park.
Be Selfish and Careful
Much of what makes summer outings fun is all the sharing and group interactions. But now, more than ever, being selfish and focusing on your own safety is important. When you venture outside for any activity, take enough sunscreen, water, snacks, hand sanitizer, and supplies for your family. If you are partnering up with another crew, make sure to have enough individual units of everything. Be ready for the munchies with pre-packed snacks for each participant; pre-wrap sliced servings of goodies before heading out.
Prep for Play
Public park equipment can be high ground for spreading infection; balls and high-touch sporting equipment might also be off limits. You can entertain kids of all ages with non-contact games like I Spy, cloud staring, charades, and scavenger hunts. These interactive activities can double as opportunities to reveal how your kids are feeling and processing all that is going on around them.
Keep Your Space
One of the benefits of the mandated lockdown has been a dramatic reduction in air pollution. Even with masks on, you can do your part to keep the air we breathe clean. Wipe down any surfaces you will be touching with biodegradable disinfectant wipes. When picnicking, avoid disposable dishes and cutlery. Even young kids can be taught to throw wrappers and peels in a trashcan.
The 2020 summer season may not be filled with typical carefree fun, but with a bit of forethought and planning, it is possible to make it a good and healthy one, filled with entertaining activities and safe adventures.