Moms Share Advice About Play Dates During the Pandemic

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The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has been tough on everyone. Not only have some people lost loved ones to the virus, they’ve also lost their jobs, their freedom in some sense, their sanity. The list goes on and on.

However, one of the most affected groups of people is arguably parents. If you have a little one at home, you’ve probably encountered a few problems, like attempting to entertain them at home (thanks to schools and daycares being closed) while you work from your dining room table.

Now that the cases are starting to die down and many state are beginning to reopen, you might be tempted to arrange some play dates for your kids, not only to keep your sense of saneness, but so that they can regain their interaction with other people their age.

It’s summer, after all, and when you’re cooped up for that long, you might feel like you have no other choice but to maintain some social interaction for the kiddos.

But how safe are play dates right now? Even though people are beginning to go back to life as normal, you might be worried for your children’s safety—and that’s completely valid.

In fact, the CDC actually still recommends limiting contact between kids as much as you can. They do state that playing outside is safer than being inside, and if you must have play dates, to do so in the fresh air while still socially distancing a minimum of six feet.

“We know outdoors is better than indoors,” said Alison Buttenheim, a professor of nursing and a public health researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. “We know COVID-19 is being transmitted through droplets, which can go very far through sneezing and coughing. But even just breathing, speaking and exhaling can transmit the virus as well.

In order to play it safe, Buttenheim recommends: “wearing a mask, plus staying at least six feet away, plus keeping the time together short is a good decision-making formula.”

However, don’t feel like you need to say yes to every play date if you’re still not ready. It’s totally fine to decline until you’re more comfortable.

“Don’t compare yourself to other moms, or your family to other families. We’re in this pandemic for a long haul, and you don’t need that added mental stress. Politely tell them you’re doing what you’re comfortable with, and that you wish them all health and wellness,” recommends Cassandra Stone, a writer for Scary Mommy.

What’s your stance on allowing play dates right now? Are you for outdoor get-togethers, or are avoiding them altogether until the health crisis is more under control?