Six Tips for Social Distancing with Kids
The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the way people interact with each other, from giving hugs and shaking hands to observing social distancing. For parents, this means being extra careful especially when going out with children. Don’t worry, in this article, we’ve provided some tips that can help you practice social distancing with your kids.
COVID-19 and Kids
Although older people with pre-existing conditions are at higher risk of COVID-19, no age group is exempt from being infected. In fact, a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report states that 1.7% of the COVID-19 patients from February 12 to April 2, 2020 in the United States are children. Meanwhile, an earlier study observed 2,143 children with COVID-19 in China and found out that pediatric patients show less severe symptoms than adults.
The CDC reiterated that social distancing and everyday preventive measures must be observed to avoid the transmission of COVID-19.
What is Social Distancing?
Social distancing, also known as physical distancing, is the practice of maintaining a safe distance between yourself and other people. This helps lessen the transmission of the coronavirus and protect ourselves from getting the virus at the same time.
To practice social distancing, you must stay at least six feet from other people, avoid group gatherings and crowded places.
Six Tips for Social Distancing with Kids
Staying home is the best way to keep kids from getting sick. However, it may be challenging to stay home with children, especially when playdates with friends and running outside have been a part of their lifestyle. Here are some tips that can help you and your kids practice social distancing when going outside and keep them engaged while staying at home.
1. Speak with your child about COVID-19.
Explain the virus to your child, how it can be transmitted and how it affects the community in a way that he/she will understand why we need social distancing. Be calm about it, avoid negative language, stick to facts and be open to questions.
2. Wear masks when going into public places.
Tell your child that you need to wear masks for protection. If possible, buy colorful masks that are enticing and fun for kids to wear.
3. Keep a hand sanitizer with you.
Frequent hand washing is one of the best ways to get rid of bacteria. Always keep a bottle of hand sanitizer with you, especially when going outside. Be sure to sanitize your kid’s hands as soon as he/she accidentally touches anything outside (e.g. door, elevator button, chair, table, etc.) and before going inside your home.
4. Take less crowded routes.
Taking less crowded routes or sidewalks can help you keep a safe distance when going out, especially if you live in a high-density neighborhood. If you enjoy walking with your child in the afternoon, go to an empty outdoor space rather than going to more bacteria-prone areas such as the park playground.
5. Include time for fun and creative activities at home.
Introduce activities that you and your child will enjoy at home such as painting, learning an instrument, baking, coloring books, building puzzles and exercising. This can help him/her get used to having fun and learning new things even inside your home. And it’s great for family time together.
6. Coordinate with other parents for online or socially distant playdates.
To help your child stay connected with other kids, be creative about scheduling playdates. Prepare online games and challenges can give them a sense of achievement while also helping them develop social skills. And meeting outside is a great way to burn energy and stay safe as long as children understand the need for physical distance.
For the foreseeable future, we must practice social distancing. In addition to social distancing, eating healthy, getting plenty of sleep and exercising can help keep you and your kids safe and healthy during these difficult times.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Harvard Medical School
World Health Organization