Parenting Connection: How to safely re-enter your kids back into society

Parenting Connection

It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.
Today’s topic: How to safely re-enter your kids back into society.

Michigan is now re-opening. Restaurants, public swimming pools, retail shops and parks with playgrounds are once again options for your family to enjoy. We’re also still within a pandemic, and so if you decide to take your kids anywhere outside of your house, understand certain safety rules are in effect — most notably, masks, capacity limits and social distancing.

It’s also important to point out to your kids that not all families will be the same when it comes to following what’s recommended by health experts. If you’re following a more conservative path, it’ll likely put you in the tough position of watching other parents allow their kids to do things you’ve told your own kids they can’t do. Child development expert at Michigan State University, Kendra Moyses says, before you leave the house, it’s important to talk with your kids about what’s expected based upon your family values.

“Talk about those and why they are important to your family to follow those rules. We know there are people who aren’t following the rules, so we want to emphasize to our children what’s important, what your family values are, and why it’s important to stick to those.”

Now for play dates. Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are still recommending no in-person play dates. However, health experts also agree scheduling a play date is a personal decision, as long as parents fully understand the risks involved and recommend if you go forward with hosting one or vice-versa:

*Have a candid conversation with the other parent if anyone in their family has had symptoms of Covid-19
*Limit to a single-friend coming over
*Have it outside
*If inside, disinfect the house
*Routinely require hand-washing while they play

It’s also OK to not have play dates just yet and because parks, playgrounds and hiking and biking trails are beginning to re-open too — a nice family outing can definitely help the cabin fever as well. Here are a few simple ideas from the Michigan State University Extension for your kids to enjoy time outside of the house, yet still practice social distancing.

*Schedule an extra long bike ride or walk
*Create an obstacle course or scavenger hunt
*Bring art outside by allowing your kids to paint or play with sidewalk chalk
*Have a picnic and have your child help pick the food and games you’ll bring

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