SOCIAL DISTANCING 201 FOR PARENTS
You know the basics of preventing COVID-19 spread: Keep meetings virtual whenever possible. Keep at least six feet of distance between yourself and anyone from outside your household. Wear a face mask. Wash your hands before and after touching communal surfaces. Stay at home if you feel sick.
Most people still have moments of confusion over “what to do when,” though—especially since it sometimes seems that every municipality, store, and restaurant has its own rules. To help out, here’s a list of practical do’s and don’ts for protecting your family’s health, routine, and emotional resilience:
Do remember the old adage, “Better safe than sorry.” When in doubt, stay out/keep your kids home/put on your mask/get tested. Consider comparative “worst things that could happen”: wasting time and/or looking silly is better than getting seriously ill.
Don’t assume that family-and-friends gatherings are automatically safe. There’s strong evidence that “knowing everyone there” or being with “only” a couple dozen people is no guarantee against going home COVID-positive.
Don’t let peer pressure, your own impatience, or someone with an overzealous political agenda make your decisions for you. Listen to the health experts.
Do keep up with official rules in your area—and any other area you visit. Check local- and state-government websites, as well as postings in businesses and public places. Do remember that the details are subject to frequent change, so don’t assume you’re permanently set after reading them once.
Do make sure the rest of your household also understands the rules. (Ask your kids to help you not forget the masks and sanitizer!)
Don’t make a scene (or engage in a social-media pity party) about any “limit virus spread” requirements, no matter how unnecessary or inconvenient they seem. Besides violating common courtesy, playing the rebel generates unnecessary stress that wears down your immune system, and probably the immune systems of everyone exposed to your attitude.
Don’t take it on yourself to scold strangers for being careless. (A polite “would you please step back to the six-foot marker?” is acceptable in necessary close quarters.) If someone is openly flouting rules or seems to be creating real danger, let an authority figure know.
Do set a good example for your children in hand-washing, social distancing, and mask-wearing. Let them hold you accountable too.
Do get your children face masks that fit properly, and do remember that kids outgrow things quickly. (Note: many municipalities don’t require face masks for prepubescent children, and many kids under six can’t use masks effectively. If you have younger children, do get a pediatrician’s advice before having them mask up.)
Do focus on the blessings you have—including family togetherness at home—rather than what you can’t do. Plan special family activities like a holiday-lights driving tour or a mix-your-own-soup buffet. Do have a warm and wonderful holiday season!