Summer is finally here, which typically means things like road trips, lazy days at the beach, theme parks, and family reunions.
Unfortunately, due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, summer will look a lot different this year.
Already across the country, festivals and fairs have been canceled, concerts postponed, and many popular events rescheduled. Since most states have now at least partially “opened,” extra precautions need to be taken to keep people healthy.
What can you do to keep yourself and your family safe this summer by socially distancing, while still having a good time and enjoying the season?
Get Outside as Much as Possible
Summer is the perfect time to be outside. Thankfully, it’s also a great way to distance while still feeling a bit of normalcy socially. Try going to open-area parks where there aren’t many people. Plan a picnic with your family under a shady tree and bring a football or frisbee to throw around. This approach is an excellent alternative to crowded playgrounds, with plenty of people running around.
Or, try hiking a nature trail either on your own or as a family. People tend to stay distanced from each other on hikes out of respect. You can set your own pace, take breaks, and feel like you’re in your own world when you’re on a beautiful trail.
If you don’t want to go far from home, you can enjoy the warm weather in your back yard by setting up a sprinkler for your kids to run through (and you can even get in on the fun and feel like a kid again!). Have regular family dinners outside, play games on your patio, or have the kids decorate the entire driveway with sidewalk chalk.
The most important thing? Don’t be afraid to get creative and use your imagination for outdoor ideas. You might feel as though you’re “stuck at home,” but to your kids, you’re creating memories!
Being outside is beneficial for your mental health. It can help to boost your energy and alleviate stress. If this pandemic has you feeling anxious and uncertain, finding more time to spend outside this summer can help.
Get Creative With New Ideas
One way to go on an “adventure” this summer is to visit a drive-in movie theater. You might not feel comfortable taking the family to an enclosed theater. A drive-in allows you to stay in your car or set up chairs just outside your vehicle. It’s a unique experience and a bit of nostalgia that your kids will love.
Camping is another excellent way to stay socially distanced with a classic summer activity. Whether you pitch a tent in your backyard or visit your favorite campground, you can maintain your distance from other campers and still have fun with your family. Many campgrounds across the country have already put rules and guidelines in place to keep their guests safe. So, don’t be afraid to take part in this classic summer tradition.
If it’s just too hot outside to do anything fun, bring your summer activities indoors! Try making homemade popsicles or ice cream as a refreshing treat, or, if you have younger children, create sensory boxes for them to play with and stay busy.
Everyone will likely have to think outside the box this summer when it comes to having fun. The coronavirus hasn’t magically gone away, unfortunately. There are still so many good reasons to wear masks and stay socially distanced. Don’t be afraid to use your imagination when it comes to making the most of your socially distanced summer.
If the effects of the ongoing pandemic are taking a toll on your overall mental health, please reach out for additional support. Parenting is hard during a good year. It's exceptionally hard during a pandemic year.
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Jennifer Perera is a mom, spouse and Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has over a decade’s worth of experience in mental health. She has a private practice in New Jersey, with locations in Cranford and Princeton. Her passion is helping new moms and dads find their joy again in parenthood through individual, group and couples counseling. Jennifer specializes in working with parents during the prenatal and postpartum periods and those coping with a pregnancy loss or infertility. Her other passion is travelling to different parts of the world and her goal is to vacation in a different locale every time. She also has a great fondness for cats!