As we navigate our way through the warmer months in the midst of Covid-19, many families are wondering how to keep safe while still getting out to try and enjoy the season. Some local organizations are beginning to open their doors again and residents are seeing activity opportunities pop up once again – but are they safe? Navigating Covid-19 summer safety can bring with it a slew of questions, so knowing how to safely participate in some of your favorite warmer month family activities is the best way to ease your concerns in the wake of the pandemic.
Understanding the Basics of Covid-19 Summer Safety
You may notice some of your family’s favorite local businesses and locations starting to resume activities and programs for children in your area. Many local fun spots are trying to find innovative ways to continue to supply our communities with our favorite activities while remaining vigilant about public health and safety. With so many things beginning to open up, it raises the question, how do we know what is safe and what to avoid? How do we keep our families safe but still allow for some play time outside of the home?
As a general rule, your first step for keeping your family safe as things open up is to check all local guidelines and regulations. Look to see what the CDC and public health officials recommend for public interactions to ensure you’re approaching each situation appropriately. From there, it’s also good to speak with personnel in charge of the area you’re looking to visit so you understand any additional regulations and guidelines they are implementing. Knowing these two things will help you to understand the risks a bit better as well as know how to come prepared to each activity.
Safely Navigating Summer Activities
If you’ve been looking forward to a little sunshine therapy at your local recreational pool or beach, or your little ones have been looking forward to visiting their favorite parks or attending their annual summer camp, you’re not alone. Summer months are filled with camps, parks, and water fun for area families – but are they safe to attend in the midst of the pandemic?
No matter what type of activity you’re looking to participate in, there are some basic guidelines to keep in mind beforehand:
- Check site specific protocol. In addition to CDC guidelines and those of your local government, individual locations often have additional safety checks in place. Find out what their distancing regulations are in terms of space capacity, parking lot rules, and what the personal protection equipment requirements may be. You’ll also want to be sure it is noted that all public spaces (restrooms, lobbies, play areas, etc.) are frequently cleaned and disinfected for your safety as well.
- Be prepared for your family protection. While you likely know to bring things like your masks and sanitizers, it’s also a good idea to pack extras. Outdoor activities make it easy to misplace items needed for safety, so having extras on hand can help ensure you stay protected even if the wind takes off with one of your masks.
- Plan ahead. Depending upon which activity you’re looking to try, there are ways to help minimize the risk of exposure and limit the possibility of contact with others. Knowing the busiest times of day for your particular location will help you to plan a visit during off-peak hours, meaning you are able to limit the chances of exposure a bit more.
Best Way to Approach Summer Activity Cancellations with Kids
Unfortunately, many of our favorite summer activities are suffering cancellations in light of the pandemic. For safety purposes, a lot of area parks, pools, and camps are making the tough decision to remain closed or cancel regularly scheduled programs. Though we understand it is the right choice during times like this, often our children may have a hard time grasping why they suddenly can’t attend their favorite camp or swim at the recreation center. Knowing how to approach the subject with our kids can help minimize the disappointment a bit.
While you may be tempted to hold off on discussing potential cancellations with your kids until you have a definitive answer, it may backfire to do so. It can often help children cope with potential disappointment if they are prepared to do so by discussing things up front. Let them know the chances of cancellations of their favorite activities and then brainstorm new ideas with them. Help them come up with a safe and fun alternative to look forward to in the event that their previous plans can’t come to fruition.
What to do When Your Favorite Summer Activities are Cancelled
If your planned summer activities were spoiled by the pandemic, it doesn’t mean you need to spend an entire season indoors with nothing to do. The beauty of the summer months brings with it a surplus of outdoor activity options, so put on your thinking caps and come up with some safe and fun alternatives to your previously scheduled plans. Some fantastic (and safe) outdoor family fun activities include:
- Exploring trails and hiking new paths
- Bike rides, roller blading, skateboarding, or scooter rides
- Taking a scenic drive as a family
- Plan and start a family garden
- Playing sports, catch, tossing a frisbee, or flying a kite
- Go camping or set up a tent in your back yard
- Plan a scavenger hunt for kids
How to Encourage Social Interactions During Social Distancing
If your child appears to be struggling with being away from friends, reassure them that they are not alone and work with them on a solution to staying connected during social distancing. Remember, it’s still possible to plan fun activities with their friends via online chatting and video calls. Plan a fun game night for your child and their friends to connect and play virtually. Have a virtual slumber party where your child can chat with friends online while watching movies and having popcorn “together.” The most important thing to remember is that social distancing doesn’t mean we aren’t still connected. Get creative and remain vigilant about safety and you’ll help your family through the difficult times a bit easier.