Spring Socialization during a Pandemic

When many parents think of spring, they think of getting back outside, playdates at the park, backyard barbecues, and other outdoor activities. This year this may sound even more appealing after a winter of being stuck inside and needing to be socially distant from others with the ongoing pandemic. Are you wondering how to do this safely? Are you wondering how this can occur as the pandemic continues? The numbers are better than they were in the winter, but not everyone is comfortable participating in all that they typically do when spring starts. How can you still enjoy what spring has to offer and start to socialize with others while continuing to follow the guidelines?

Some of the appeal of the spring is the warmer weather and being able to get back outside after being stuck inside during the cold, winter months. There are many activities that can be done outside in a socially distant way or individually. Do your kids enjoy sidewalk chalk? This can be done with children and families drawing individual sections of a picture or working together to create a collage while remaining socially distant. Many outdoor games such as Horseshoes, Hopscotch, Kites, Ring Toss, and Bean Bag Toss can also be done outside in a way that families and groups can remain socially distant while also having fun together. Many of these games are not as high intensity so it may be easier to wear a mask during participation depending on your comfort level. Also as the weather improves, can you go for a walk with others, ride bikes, or walk through a forest preserve? This is a way you can get out and move around while also being able to maintain the desired distancing.

Depending on the age of your children, you can also do Zoom game nights or days if you are farther away or are not yet comfortable with in person visits. This can even be continued once everything is open again and others lives farther away. There are online game programs that can be played in the moment while everyone is together. There are some that one person needs to purchase a computer game pack and then each person gets a code to sign in with for the game. These games may not work as well with younger children, but even doing a dance party on Zoom can be done with almost all ages. This can allow for interactions and getting to see one another without needing to be in person.

Ask your children what they want to do to enjoy the nicer weather as well. Often kids have great ideas that parents may not have thought of doing. Make sure to help your child understand what rules and guidelines you are still following as a family. They have had a lot of changes this year and have had limitations on various activities so helping them to set expectations as to what activities would work. If they do come up with an activity that won’t work, then help them to understand why that particular activity will not work, but help them to create something similar that you are comfortable. The more control you can give to your child around this, the easier it will be for your child to participate and be excited about the activities. There have been many changes this year and many things that have been hard for children to understand so helping them to get some control back will help with their mental health and creative more positive feelings. Getting outside and seeing others can brighten most people’s mood so figuring out how to do it safely will be great. Reach out if you have any questions or want more ideas of how to accomplish this.

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