The pandemic has been difficult for everyone, including children. Parents and educators worry about the impact COVID-19 will have on children.
Young people need play and sports to develop their minds and bodies. These activities also help teach them crucial socialization skills. But the pandemic has limited their interactions with their peers. One study revealed that extended periods of social isolation can cause depression. This could manifest later on.
Many parents are struggling to make things as normal as possible for their children. It’s a challenging task considering COVID cases are still high in the US. And while more people got vaccinated, we still don’t know how effective is the flu vaccine or the COVID vaccines.
Where Can You Go?
One question most parents ask is “where are kids safe to play during the pandemic?” Your child’s environment is a big factor when it comes to safe play. The CDC has determined that kids are more at risk when they play indoors.
COVID-19 thrives in colder temperatures and low humidity. There’s a bigger chance of transmission in places with poor ventilation. Your child is also more at risk when playing games or close contact sports. If it’s necessary to play inside, make sure the facility has proper ventilation. It should also have good filtration systems.
Outdoor activities are preferable for playing. There’s better airflow. Children will also have enough space to practice social distancing. You can let your children play in parks and playgrounds. But you should still insist that they follow health protocols, like wearing a mask. They should also stay a few feet apart. Make sure your child also washes their hands with soap and water or alcohol. Try to schedule trips to the park or any outdoor places at times when there are fewer people.
Suggested Sports or Games that are Safer for Children
It’s safer to play outside since the open air will help scatter the virus. It will lessen the odds of your child contracting the virus. It’s also easier to manage social distancing when you are in a spacious area. Here are some activities that you and your children can do:
This is a good outdoor activity for the whole family. You can spend a day hiking at the nearest nature park. You can have a picnic and collect flowers. The fresh air and exercise will be good for your child.
This is another fun activity for children. It’s safer since they will be out in the open. It’s also an activity that requires a certain amount of space. Make sure your child is wearing protective gear and bring a mask and alcohol.
Team sports are now allowed. Baseball is a safer game for your child since players don’t have to huddle. There’s also less physical contact. Players can also spread out while they’re in the dugout.
Swimming in your backyard pool or the local one can be quite safe for children. The chlorine and other chemicals in the water will negate the virus. But your child can still get sick if they stand or sit too close to a carrier. Remind them to practice social distancing. They should also refrain from touching items in the locker room. They should also use hand sanitizer or alcohol spray.
Solo sports are also safer for children today. Tennis, badminton, and golf are some good examples. The players remain at a safe distance from each other. They also don’t share equipment or protective gear. This reduces the risk of transmission.
Running/ Track and Field
Running can also be a good sport for children to do during this time. It’s not a team sport so there’s no interaction like group huddles or high-fives. Coaches can also focus more on skill development. This is a high-intensity activity, so players shouldn’t wear a mask during the race. But they should do so afterward.
Checklist to Keep Playtime Safe
As a parent or coach, you have to take steps to ensure the safety and health of your young charges. If your child is 12-years-old or older, getting them vaccinated should be a priority. You should also do the following:
- Talk to your child about COVID-19. They should understand the dangers and the safety precautions they should take. You can try going through COVID-19 screening questions with them.
- Make sure your children know and follow safety rules, like wearing a mask. They should also have their own mask, towel, hand sanitizer, and water bottle. Put labels on them to prevent mix-ups.
- Remind kids to always wash their hands or clean them with alcohol or a hand sanitizer.
- Children should always wear a face mask when they’re in the dugout or waiting on the sidelines. They should also put them on during team discussions.
- Avoid group hugs and huddles. Tell your kids to refrain from handshakes and fist bumps as well. They can follow the professional athletes who bump elbows. Teach them not to spit or blow their nose without a tissue.
- Stop sharing sports equipment. If they have to, make sure your child sanitizes the equipment first. Players should also sanitize or wash their hands before and after using them.
Are you ready to keep healthy through sports? This post on stress reduction also provides good information.
Keep on Playing
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