Let them Play: A Mom’s Guide to Restarting Playdates

Although it feels weird at first, it’s time to start adjusting to a partially open society. 

Some things are closed through the summer, but most are opening back up (though looking a bit different).  I want to take advantage of this time with fewer restrictions because this year has made me realize we don’t know what could change.  I’m not sure what this flu season will look like with COVID-19 as a player, so I want to get out of the house while I can. 

A friend of mine has a daughter the same age as mine and we always together once or twice a month for playdates with the girls.  Once the pandemic hit we got together weekly to FaceTime, taking social distancing very seriously as we tried to do our part to help society.  But now we want to try a few ways to have playdates while respecting social distancing rules.  

Step one to make this successful is talking to your children about it. 

Do they understand, or can they understand, that we have to stay away from others? There are lots of good tools and videos to help explain, but reminding our kids we have to give some space until the “sickness” is over (as we call it in our house) is essential.  Otherwise, we will spend the whole time redirecting our children.  Some strict rules we still follow is no hugging or kissing and no sharing food or drinks. 

Let them Play: A Mom's Guide to Restarting Playdates

Step two is having open conversations about where other people stand with COVID-19

It’s okay to ask “are you comfortable with this?” Having a playdate where one person is very concerned and another is not will only work if we can respect each other’s stance on the pandemic and find a way to work together.  Setting up rules prior to the playtime will help with expectations.

Below are some ideas for you to start incorporating playdates:

  1. FaceTime/Zoom – This is still an option! We had fun with lots of virtual activities. Our girls had dance parties, showed each other their rooms, and played playdough together. But their favorite was hide and seek.  The moms would take the iPad and follow directions from the other little girl to find her friend.  So cute!
  2. Water play – Sprinklers, separate baby pools, or water balloons are super easy ways to get together outside and have fun while respecting social distancing expectations.  
  3. Crafts across the driveway – My friend had an awesome idea to do cement pavers with the girls.  We will set the girls up across the driveway from each other and do this craft.  I’m sure there are so many other ideas and they don’t have to be outside.  Finding an indoor area like across the table would work too.  Just make sure to wipe down door handles and light switches before and after your friends leave.
  4. Kites, bikes, and trails – Most outdoor activities can be done six feet apart.  Take the time to plan something with friends, pack a picnic, or grab coffee and let the kids explore the outdoors.

Let them Play: A Mom's Guide to Restarting Playdates

These are great ways to start having playdates again to encourage social interaction between kids. 

What ideas do you have for playdates during a pandemic?

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Katy Anderson
Katy is a working wife and mother to three. She attended Coe College in Cedar Rapids (Kohawks for life!) and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and English. Married in June 2014 to husband her Nate, Katy brought along her rescue dog, Sadie, and with Nate came two bonus kids. Nate and Katy welcomed their daughter, Zoey, in April 2016 and have happily completed their family. Well, until more dogs are needed. Currently working full time and supporting three active kids, Katy has a hard time squeezing in her own hobbies. But, when she gets a chance, she enjoys spending time with her family, being active, and reading.

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