How to Prepare for a Socially-Distanced Summer

Summer is going to look quite a bit different for families this year. As we figure out a new normal during the coronavirus pandemic, we may be headed for a socially-distanced summer. 

Areas of the country have begun to reopen, but we still don’t know how this health and financial crisis will continue to evolve. So, many families may choose to err on the side of caution when it comes to traveling and other summertime activities.

Here are some tips to help your family make the most of a summer break that may involve social distancing practices.

Travel alternatives

Many families are accustomed to using the summer to satisfy the travel bug. But even if shelter-in-place orders are lifted and social distancing requirements are relaxed, it may be best to change up your travel plans this summer.

While some families may make a personal decision to travel internationally, I assume that most will choose to stay stateside.

Here’s a few ways to travel domestically this summer:

  • Take a road trip. A road trip is a great way to avoid close-quartered flights. Explore your own state or head toward a neighboring state for new adventures.
  • Have a staycation. If you want to get out of the house but don’t want to take a long road trip, consider taking a local staycation. Stay in a nearby hotel or make a quick day trip to a nearby city. 
  • Go camping. There are plenty of campgrounds and state parks to explore in each state. You’ll get to travel, while easily practicing social distancing. 

Our country has plenty to offer with diverse locations and beautiful landscapes — which often gets overlooked when traveling abroad is an option.

Editor’s note: For some, this summer is likely to include activism. Remember that you don’t have to attend in-person events to make a difference. Consider donating to causes you believe in, and finding other ways to be active without putting your health at risk.

If you do decide that your activism should be in person, do your part by wearing a mask, and trying to maintain some degree of social distance. When traveling out of state, observe the appropriate self-isolation protocols and consider getting tested for COVID-19.

Keep your kids entertained

Local activities and entertainment venues may be more limited this summer. Since we’re still in a phase of the unknown, you may not have open access to traditional summertime activities, like going to your community pool or an amusement park. And even if certain venues are open, you may still want to practice your own standard of social distancing.

Here are some ideas to keep your family safe this summer:

  • Choose venues that promote social distancing guidelines. Select venue locations that are encouraging social distancing by limiting the number of guests and providing handwashing stations. For example, community venues, like museums and libraries, typically have fewer people than popular amusement parks. Avoid locations that will present more of a challenge when it comes to sanitizing areas and equipment between patron use.
  • Invest in outdoor upgrades for your home. If you’re going to be stuck at home more than usual this summer, you might as well make your outdoor space an oasis. Set up a sitting area or hammock outside, so you can relax while your children play. If needed, hire a mosquito treatment company to service your property. Do whatever is needed to make your outdoor space a livable extension of your home.
  • Find subscription boxes for each family member. There are tons of subscription boxes you can sign up for online. Many of which are fairly inexpensive. For example, KiwiCo ships innovative learning boxes to kids of all ages. While Raddish Kids ships monthly culinary boxes as part of their cooking club for kids.
  • Provide plenty of outdoor activities. This summer is a great time to get back to the basics. Go on a bike ride. Take family walks around the neighborhood. Set up sports equipment (e.g. basketball or soccer goal) in the backyard. Or teach your family how to garden. Plan to spend as much time as possible outside to help avoid feeling trapped where you’re at.

Keep in mind that it’s not your responsibility to keep your kids entertained 24-7. Creativity is often born from boredom. So, there’s no harm in allowing your kids to figure out activities for themselves.

Spend time with extended family

If you have older adults or immunocompromised family members, they may need to continue to limit contact with others throughout the summer. If this is the case, you can still spend quality time together without being physically present.

  • Cook together once a week. This is an easy way to feel like you’re having dinner together. Plan to prepare and eat the same meal at the same time. Hop on a video call, so it really feels like you’re having dinner together.
  • Start a hobby together. Choose any simple activity that provides a connection. For example, you could pick a book to read separately and then have a discussion over the phone. Or start a new Netflix series together. 
  • Visit while practicing safe social distancing. You may still be able to see each other while taking precautions (e.g. wearing masks and visiting from a safe distance). For example, you could have your grandparents stay inside while your kids play in their yard. Or surprise your family members by having your kids decorate their fence with sidewalk chalk. 

Don’t let physical separation keep you from making memories with your loved ones.

Use this summer to reconnect as a family. Without many of the usual distractions, like sports camps and extensive traveling, we have a unique opportunity to refocus our time and be intentional about how we’re spending our summer together.

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