The age between three and six sees the child’s brain undergo rapid development. It’s the age where they start preschool and meet other kids of their own age. The pandemic though has left toddlers and young kids with fewer options to socialise, which is why parents need to get creative.
Playdates still remain a viable option for children and parents to find ways to interact. Your little one and you get a chance to step out of the house or host someone at your home. With fewer risks involved, playdates might be the sanity check you need in the new normal.
So dear parents if you are planning a playdate in the post-pandemic era, here are a few guidelines that you must follow.
Planning A Playdate: A Helpful Guide For Parents
A one-on-one playdate is the most advisable during the pandemic. Two children between the age of three and six can play together without creating too much havoc. At the same time, it ensures that you keep things under control, should something go awry. It’s easier to trace a single parent and a child as suspected carriers than many children.
You may add more children to the playdate as long as the parents confirm that there is no cause of worry. Children with cough and flu symptoms should not make it to the playdate for everyone’s safety. Make sure to communicate it to the parents beforehand.
Keep in touch with parents after the playdate. Ask them to update you if their child is showing any respiratory issues. It is one of the symptoms of the COVID-19 infection and could mean that your child will need to test at the earliest.
Always ask the parents if they’ve stayed indoors for at least 14 days before the playdate to minimise the risk.
Follow Social Distancing Protocols
Most parents organise playdates at home rather than in a public space. This makes it an intimate affair. But that should still mean that your toddler follows all social distancing norms.
Children must not shake hands or come in close contact with other kids while playing. Ask the children to take breaks and wash hands at regular intervals during the playdate. Children older than the age of three should wear a mask at all times during the playdate.
Parents also need to supervise children on not touching their eyes, nose, and mouth. This could be difficult, which is why you need to make it a point for your child to carry a sanitiser in his bag at all times.
- Disinfect Toys and Other Surfaces
The coronavirus infection can survive on different surfaces for a few hours. Parents need to minimise the risk by disinfecting common surfaces across the home.
Places like the doorknobs, books, switches, toys, and more, need sanitisation when you’re planning a playdate.
Go with Your Kid On The Playdate
It would be a good idea to go with your child on their playdates. It is a good chance to step out of the house and enjoy some hospitality for yourself. You can also keep a watch on your little runt and make sure he is taking all necessary precautions.
Other parents may also spend time at your place during playdates, so make sure to be a good host as well.
A guideline that parents should follow irrespective of the pandemic. Always make it a point to show up on time to drop or pick your child up from the playdate. If you do not choose to hang around, make sure to spend at least five to ten minutes till your little one is comfortable in the new home.
At the same time, do not overstay your welcome. Always time your playdates so it does not become a burden on either family. For instance, a three-hour period is enough for preschoolers. But, it can be a little over one hour for infants and toddlers.
- Offer To Help, Bring Snacks
Children are messy and it will only be a boon for the other parent if you can lend a helping hand at the end of the playdate. You can also make pre-packed sandwiches for the children and the parents when you go for the playdate.
This is also important if your preschooler has dietary restrictions. In which case it’s preferable to carry snacks from home for him.
Parents will have to be extra cautious when organising playdates during the pandemic. Schedule fewer playdates than before. But please ensure that your child has opportunities to interact with other people. Till schools and playgrounds are safe to reopen in Singapore, playdates sound promising.
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