Rules of Playdates During COVID-19 Outbreak: Keeping The Kids Safe During A Playdate

Jia Ling

COVID-19 outbreak is spreading like wildfire. It is a tricky situation especially for parents, with kids’ safety being a major concern. So, how can you protect your kids while they go on playdates? Or is it best to avoid playdates altogether?

The deadly coronavirus outbreak has led to many changes across the world, including lockdown of countries and implementation of work from home measures. Schools, offices and major public areas have been shut down in most countries to ensure that the safety of people are not compromised. 

If you are a parent, you could be feeling a wave of uneasiness especially when it comes to protecting your family’s health. Apart from precautionary measures, you might also find it a big challenge to keep the kids busy within the four walls of your home. Activity cancellations and closure of play arenas further narrow down your options, making it even more difficult for you.

Things to Do on a Playdate: General safety

To your idea of sending your child on playdates during this widespread pandemic, Dr. Ruth Berggren says that it is best to avoid playdates or at least limit the total number of people on a playdate to less than ten (this includes parents and children who are healthy). You can then effectively plan for the different things to do on a playdate; however, do ensure that kids with cough and flu symptoms should remain at home.

things to do on a playdate

A small scale playdate happening. | Photo: iStock

Things to Do on a Playdate – Basic Rules to Abide By

Amidst all the chaos around COVID-19, it’s a real worry for parents when it comes to sending their kids outdoors. According to the Alberta Health Services Canada, social distancing is the need of the hour to ensure that everybody is safe. But if you wish to send your kids outside, you must ensure that all the precautionary measures are taken. Keeping that in mind, here are some of the most important rules to follow when your children are going on a playdate amid the coronavirus alert.

Engage with Healthy People

When planning for a birthday party or playdate, ensure that you involve only those families who have stayed indoors for at least 14 days and do not show any flu/cough/cold symptoms. It is also advised to keep the gathering as small as 2-3 kids.

Stay Informed 

Stay in touch with the families you engage with and request them to keep you posted about any respiratory symptoms that their kids show a few days after the playdate. This will prepare you to check for similar symptoms in your child at the earliest and go for treatment.

Avoid Handshake

When playing together, children must be advised not to shake hands or come in close contact with other kids. Since the virus spreads through contact, it is very important to follow this strictly when outdoors as well as indoors.

Maintain Distance

Educate your kids about the ongoing situation and guide them well through the safety measures. Show them how much distance must be maintained between them and others (ideally 6 ft) and how they can avoid coming in close contact with their friends.

Wash Hands Often

One of the most important things to do on a playdate! | Photo: iStock

Unlike adults, children often forget to clean their hands before eating or touching their face. So, it is a parent’s responsibility to see to it that they wash their hands thoroughly with soap after returning from the playground as well as frequently throughout the day. Sanitising their hands when there is no access to water is a good alternative to washing hands with soap. This will protect them from the risk of developing coronavirus symptoms.

Avoid Touching the Face

Due to habit, we know how difficult it is to keep the hands off our eyes, nose and mouth. When we as adults ourselves need to stay alert to not touch our face often, it is a bigger challenge for kids to remember this. So, ensure that you remind them to keep their hands clean and wash them often during the day. Yes, it is a difficult task but very much required in the current situation!

Cough into The Sleeve 

Whether it is the novel coronavirus or any other flu viruses for that matter, we are well aware that these viruses spread quickly through droplets. It is always a good habit to cover your mouth while coughing/sneezing and then wash your hands with soap. To avoid any risks of spreading the virus to others, it is advised to cough or sneeze into your elbow. Make sure that you teach your kids to follow this practice.

Keep a Check on The Kids

During COVID-19, it is best if you accompany the kids to their playdates. This will help you keep a check on them and guide them through the preventive measures so as to protect them from the deadly disease.

Photo: iStock

Disinfect Toys and Surfaces

As per research, coronavirus stays alive on metallic and other surfaces for a few hours. Therefore, another important preventive step is to regularly clean the most-used surfaces with disinfectants. Surfaces like doorknobs, phones, tablets, keys, toys, books, switches, toilet areas, etc., are what we are talking about here.

Wash Used Clothes

The last but important point is related to laundry. Make sure that your child’s used clothes are washed immediately after exposure to groups of people (the same applies to adults as well).

Although studies show that kids are less prone to coronavirus, it is imperative to stick to the safety measures and follow all the guidelines. Say no to playdates as much as possible and ensure that you’re well aware of the things to do on a playdate during COVID-19. After all, you never know who might have the disease. So, stay home and stay safe.

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