Are playdates OK? Letting your children socialize safely

Schools have been closed for months and playgrounds are still locked up due to the coronavirus pandemic. Your children are itching to get outside and see their friends. But is it safe?

"We can start going out in limited amounts, we need to be wearing masks," Dr. Dyan Hes, the medical director at Gramercy Pediatrics, told FOX 5 NY.

It's the answer so many parents have been waiting for. Hes, the mom of two teenagers, believes kids—from toddlers to teens—can start to socialize and get together with their friends, as long as parents reinforce the importance of safety measures. 

"It's about saying if you don't respect the rules and you're not going to take a mask when you go out and you're not going to wash your hands then you're not going to be allowed out," said the pediatrician. "We will have to go back to where we started

Dr. Becky Kennedy, a clinical psychologist, agrees that kids should be able to see their friends but it's important to make sure you trust the families your kids are interacting with, in terms of making sure they are also following smart safety measures. Kennedy also wants parents who are too nervous to arrange playdates to know that's okay too. She doesn't believe kids will have any long-term social issues by staying home too much now.

"There's so much we do in our homes that plays around with the same themes in terms of frustration, or sharing or waiting, or wanting and getting," Kennedy said. "That stuff that happens with peers is also happening in our homes."

But for the parents who do want their kids to get out, the reward of socialization may in some cases outweigh the small risk of getting sick, Hes said.

"We are seeing extreme depression in some children, we are seeing some kids who have actually expressed suicidality, that there's no hope left," Hes said. "When kids hear that school might not reopen they become despondent."

At the end of the day, it's up to each parent to weigh those risks and make decisions based on their own comfort level.


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