“It’s also essential to consider the risk within your own family, and what could happen if a child does become infected and brings the virus home. It makes sense to be much more careful in families with high-risk individuals, even if the child themselves is at lower risk.”
Low Risk-to-Medium Risk — camping, spending time at the beach, bike riding, BBQs
While each of these activities is held outdoors, the potential for crowding does exist. So continue to practice good social distancing from other groups of people and avoid sharing drinks, utensils and equipment as much as possible. Of course, while you can't realistically wear a mask while eating and drinking, covering one’s face before and after meals helps to reduce the risk of transmission.
Medium Risk-to-High Risk — adventure theme parks, summer camps, group sports
Factors that contribute to increased risk among these activities include the potential crowd size and unavoidable closeness between groups of people from various communities, where transmission rates can vary.
High Risk — cinemas, shopping centres and arcades
A lack of ventilation due to the indoor setting of these activities lead to them being on the high end of the risk spectrum. They each also have the potential for increased crowd size and unavoidable closeness.
A few general guidelines for weighing the risks of popular summer activities for kids:
- Indoor activities carry greater risk than outdoor ones due to ventilation.
- Avoid activities that place you in close proximity to crowds.
- Activities such as group sports, gatherings and park rides that involve sharing materials, such as balls, utensils or handles, up the risk factor.
- Do what you can to maintain social distancing of at least 1.5 metres from those outside of your household—in any instance where that’s not possible, wear a mask.
How to explain to children when the answer is no
It’s important to keep the discussion about COVID-19 going with children. While they may understand that school closures were put in place to keep children and teachers safe, now that school is over new opportunities will arise.
Should an invitation or opportunity come up that doesn’t align with your family’s risk tolerance, it’s important to be honest. Attending a birthday party may be okay for a neighborhood friend, but the risk may be too high for your own family. Likewise, if a friend turns down an invitation to attend your family’s outdoor BBQ, it’s important for children to understand why.
Tailor your approach based on your child. Approach the subject simply and calmly while also validating your child’s feelings. And as always, model good hygiene—like handwashing—for your family no matter what activities your summer has in store.