Why are so many of the neighborhood kids playing together like it’s a holiday?
Why is that child down the street having a lemonade stand?
Why is this neighbor’s sister’s family visiting them?
Why is that neighbor’s out of state family here celebrating his birthday?
Why are the pet owners, walkers, and runners at the neighborhood park not wearing masks or social distancing?
Too many people believe the government and news media, instead of medical professionals. Or maybe they just don’t care?
While there are low-contact activities like tennis, biking, or hide and seek for children to play together, it’s unreasonable to expect children to self-regulate during play time with others outside their household.
Parks and playgrounds and schools are closed. This isn’t to say that kids can just play together in each other’s yards and houses. Many experts in health care warn families to keep their kids safe by not allowing play dates with others outside the household.
Exhibiting no symptoms doesn’t mean we aren’t carries who can potentially infect others. We don’t know where you’ve been and who you have interacted with, potentially spreading the virus exponentially.
I realize America and most of Western society is very individualistic, but maybe we could look to more collectivism and expand our views to care for others as a whole rather than just think about ourselves.
Many families did these last few weeks of school at home, online or by distance learning. This is not homeschooling! Homeschoolers don’t isolate ourselves in our homes and we’re suffering too with cancellations of activities, park closures, and libraries closed.
It’s true I don’t know everyone’s situation. It’s also true that it’s very hard for many be shut up together in a house all the time when they’re not at all used to that schedule.
Yes, I know it must be hard. This is not normal for anybody.
What narrative are we telling our children about this virus and quarantine? What can we do?
We can be honest with our children.
It seems that lots of parents just aren’t even telling their kids what’s going on.
Trust me, they can handle it. They want Truth. They want Respect.
We need to give kids more credit for their natural intelligence and empathy.
We don’t have to give them more info than they can handle for their age and mental capability, but we shouldn’t just pretend they shouldn’t know what’s going on in the world. We don’t have to incite fear.
They surely have noticed things are different. Schools are closed and activities are canceled. Parents are out of work or working from home. Restaurants are closed or takeout/delivery only. Schedules are surely different.
Tell the children why. Discuss. Listen to what they have to say. Answer their questions. What are the lessons we can learn?
We can model appropriate social distancing when we leave the house.
Social distancing means
- not going out unless it is necessary. Necessary reasons to go out include buying food, getting medical care, or going for a walk or a bike ride alone or with members of the household.
- closing schools, restaurants, shops, movie theaters, and other places where people gather
- not getting together in person with friends
- working from home if possible
- not taking public transportation, including buses, subways, taxis, and rideshares
My children have not visited a store since our Ohio stay-at-home order the end of March.
My husband and daughter are essential workers and their work hours haven’t changed.
I do grocery shopping weekly alone or with my husband. My husband occasionally grabs something we need or forgot on his way home from work.
We can practice safe practices like hand washing and mask wearing.
Better safe than sorry:
- Keep your family home and away from others as much as possible. Don’t have friends and extended family over, and don’t go to their homes. People who look healthy still can be infected and can spread the virus. That’s why it’s important to stay away from everyone, even if they don’t seem sick.
- If you have to go out, make sure you are at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from other people. Viruses can spread when someone sneezes or coughs out tiny droplets. They may even spread when people talk. These droplets don’t usually travel more than 6 feet before falling to the ground. Also, follow the CDC’s advice and info on wearing a cloth face covering (or a face mask, if you have one).
- If you’re caring for someone who is sick, take all recommended precautions. It’s important to keep that person away from others.
We wash our hands regularly and especially after returning home from the store.
My husband wears a mask at work and when he shops. The kids remind him to wash his hands when he enters the house at the end of every day.
My teen daughter wears a mask at work. She washes her hands when she returns home.
I wear and mask when I shop. I wash my hands when I return home.
We also have moved our shoe bench into the garage and remove our shoes there.
We wash work clothes more frequently.
We can limit our exposure to others by staying home or in our own backyards.
Yes, it’s really hard to have all extracurricular activities canceled. My kids miss it very much. It’s normal to be sad about this and I sit with them in their disappointment.
It’s hard when the neighborhood kids ask my son to play and we have to say no. It’s not my place to explain why to those kids. My children ask me why they’re all playing together when they shouldn’t. It’s a hard circumstance.
I know we all miss our friends and family members. Trips, events, celebrations have been canceled. Grandparents are cooped up and miss their grandkids.
Kids who are used to having their schedules and activities dictated and planned for them need some adjustment time.
Parents can provide a list of appropriate and safe activities that kids can do alone, with siblings, pets, or parents. Set aside blocks of time for kids to do independent work, chores, play and other time blocks for sibling or parent time.
Scavenger hunts are fun activities to keep friends connected without touching and exposing each other. Lots of groups, cities, neighborhoods have planned fun hunts.
Write letters. This is an important, almost lost skill. It’s fun to send and receive mail!
Online games, facetime, and video activities are great ways to keep in touch and interact.
Play board games, do puzzles, draw or crafts.
Spend time outdoors as a family, safely distancing from others. Go fishing, biking, fly kites, skate or roller blade, hike the woods where spaces are open to the public.
I am saddened by so many kids who have never experienced these activities because families never had the time or interest.
Get to know your kids and spend time more wisely.
Live more simply.
We can monitor the media we view and believe.
We have media overload.
We may need to turn off the TV, radio, social media.
This includes family and friends who think this virus is a hoax or protest stay-at-home orders.
We may want to set boundaries with those friends and family members.
Human lives are more important than a haircut or restaurant food.
I’m tired of the “What if…” games.
I’m tired of people thinking they’re the exception.
I’m tired of everyone not helping to flatten the curve.
Restaurants, stores, specialist medical offices, personal care shops reopen amidst protests to save the economy…is it worth it to get our hair cut and munch on fresh eggrolls and go to bars for live music? Even schools are reopen, risking the health of so many children.
It is right to risk the lives of a few hundred or thousand individuals? Are they expendable for the economy? Is it right to sacrifice a few for the many to be more comfortable?
I pray for all of us who are affected (or seemingly unaffected) by the virus. We are all connected.
Our children are watching us and how we react to this crisis. What do we want them to remember?
Privilege is when you think something is not a problem because you’re aren’t affected personally.L.R. Knost