We are living in some difficult times. With the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic as a constant worry for many people, children especially have been affected, since something as innocuous as a play date is now not as simple as just gathering your family and going to your friend’s house and letting the kids play together.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to get the kids together and have some playtime with a little bit of exercise and fitness instead of being cooped up all the time.
Is anybody sick or showing symptoms of the coronavirus?
This is the most important question. We, as a society, should do everything in our power to stop the spread of this virus and prevent more people from getting infected. Even if an infected person is asymptomatic, they can still transfer the virus to another person who may not be so lucky.
The easiest way to prevent this from happening is to avoid contact with anybody that is experiencing symptoms of the virus. According to the CDC, symptoms include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Shortness of breath
• Muscle aches
• Sore throat
• Congestion/runny nose
• New loss of taste or smell
Now, of course not everybody experiencing these symptoms are going to be afflicted with COVID-19, but at this point in time, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Some of these symptoms can be common with everyday life and adults will usually be able to tell if it’s just a small bug they have, or if they might have come into contact with someone recently that may have been infected.
Children are much less likely to know about these things so it’s up to the parents to look out for them and make sure they’re okay.
If you’re going to arrange a gathering, make sure that none of your children are experiencing any of these symptoms, and also check with the parents of all of the other children to be aware of their status. If anybody is feeling unwell, it is best to hold off on the gathering so as to minimize the risk of possible exposure.
If you are unsure of whether or not current symptoms are signs of the virus, it is best to seek medical attention and get tested so that you can be aware of your own health status and that of any children. It can be scary to think about having the virus but if you are properly prepared and still happen to get it, the next best thing you can do is make sure it does not spread to anybody else.
Are the toys safe to play with?
Children can be messy. They can be outside rolling in the grass one minute, and then in the house playing with their playthings the next. This makes it especially difficult to track their movements and any possible cross-contamination when it comes to the virus.
In terms of a get-together, you will want to make sure that any toys being played with are properly cleaned and sanitized. It is recommended to use toys that are easy to clean, and not use ones that can’t be cleaned efficiently.
How is the pandemic situation in our area?
Since this is a global affliction, it’s affecting pretty much everybody in populated areas. But not every place is populated the same, thus some places have more dire situations than others.
If your area is experiencing higher cases, it should be taken into account when planning a get-together for the little ones.
If your area hasn’t been hit too hard, you might be able to afford being a little more lax, but also don’t let your guard down. Be aware of the situation in your state, city, county, and even neighborhood so you can make the best informed decision for your loved ones.
Will the kids be wearing masks?
Masks and facial coverings have now become somewhat of a normal thing for many people when going out to the grocery store or running other errands. It’s important because its main goal is to stop the spread of the virus.
Children should be taught the proper way to wear a mask and everybody should agree on whether or not the kids at the gathering will be wearing them.
It can be difficult for some younger children to be consistent with their mask usage, but if they are taught properly and corrected regularly, eventually they will come to learn how to do it themselves and be better protected against the virus.
Will the play date be inside or outside?
Normal get-togethers were fine to be held in almost any situation, but now the location is more important. It has been recommended that if you are to hold a gathering, try to have it outside (though preferably still in closed-off area).
Having it inside means more cramped spaces and less airflow, whereas outside there is much more room and the winds can help in getting rid of possible aerosols from the virus should they be lingering around.
You definitely don’t want to have too much foot traffic so avoid places like parks if they are frequented by others too often. A big backyard is probably the perfect choice.
COVID-19 has been with us for quite a while now, and there really is no telling how much longer we will have to deal with it. The best thing for everybody is to be knowledgeable about the situation and take any necessary precautions.
These are tough times we are living in but if you keep your eyes open, listen to what’s happening and take proper steps to keep you and your family safe, it will be that much easier for everyone to remain healthy and hopeful.