Playdates are different now. They have to be. It’s the “new normal” everyone keeps talking about, right?
There are so many new considerations. Will kiddos wear masks… or play mainly outside? (Hopefully the latter.) Will they social distance… or end up huddled together over an iPhone? (Let’s be honest, we know it’s the latter.)
Every playdate with a new friend requires these conversations and negotiations with the other parent. I always go with whatever the more cautious parent wishes – so if the other mom says masks on, we do masks. If the other mom says outside play only, that’s what we do.
If you’re not sure whether the other parents are cautious about virus exposure, consider which schooling option they chose. If they are doing committed distance learning (CDL), then assume masks and distancing will be in place for the playdate.
Often, playdates start outside or with masks on, but then after a couple of hours, everyone relaxes a bit and the kids end up inside or taking masks off. If you’re one of the cautious moms, be aware that this is typical from the playdates I’ve seen (although this is also true when us moms get together).
So how does one host the perfect playdate in these post-Corona times? Thanks to our fun day yesterday, I’ve got some ideas.
Meet at a park. We met another mom and daughter at Glen Oak Park in Lewis Center. It’s a treasure and often empty, so it’s a perfect post-Covid meetup. There’s a fish pond and bridge so you can bring food to throw to the hungry fish. There are bike trails, so if you bring bikes you can ride all around. There’s a small forest with trails, so if it’s hot you can wander into the quiet shade of the woods. And, perhaps our favorite part – there’s a sledding hill, which in summer doubles as a “run up, twirl around and roll down” hill. It was so fun to see the girls just being kids and having innocent, old-fashioned, sweaty kid fun outside together!
Visit on a patio or porch. After the kids got all hot and sweaty at the park they needed some cold water and a snack. We came back to our house but instead of visiting inside in the air conditioning, my friend and I sat outside on our screened-in porch. I went inside to get us some cold drinks and snacks, but otherwise we just hung out in our “Lemon Room,” which is what we call our screened porch ever since we redecorated with a citrus theme.
Take a bicycle ride together. I still maintain that biking together is a great way to socialize in 2020. While riding, you naturally maintain a distance of about six feet in order to not run into anyone! The only caveat is on a trail where once in a while, you have to get closer in order to make room on the path for other people – but then you can just duck behind the leader and ride single-file until the trail is clear. Bring a bike basket or backpack full of drinks and snacks, and you’re set to explore for a while.
These are just some ideas that have worked for us – I certainly don’t have all the answers. For example, I haven’t figured out what on earth we’re all going to do for Halloween this year. How can the kids trick or treat at a time like this? They could be picking up a little something extra at each house in addition to candy, so it’s a bad idea. But I also believe that canceling Halloween altogether is an unbearable option.
So, I’m trying not to look too far ahead. We’re just going week to week and trying to have fun as we go. I hope my socially distant playdate ideas give you some inspiration to get together with your friends soon, too. I’ll have another post coming soon about mom friend date ideas.
If you have other playdate ideas for the kiddos during these times, I’d love to hear them in the comments below or over on Facebook. Have fun and be safe!