Dear Dr. Debbie,
This corona coaster is making my head spin. We’ve heard that Anne Arundel County Public Schools will be online, which is fine, but we still don’t have any sense of the schedule.
This has related activities such my wife’s Girl Scout troop for our 2 daughters on standby. They Zoomed their spring meetings and will probably continue to do so. Meanwhile we’re at our usual place for this time of the summer of trying to squeeze things in before time runs out. We’re also trying very hard not to get too relaxed about social distancing.
Planning ahead is hard to do right now. The best advice is to continue to stay informed of health precautions and the impending news about how school will roll out. At least you’ve all had some experience with online learning, as have the teachers, and everyone has a better idea of how to make it work going forward. Hopefully everyone developed patience with less than perfect internet connections, frozen screens, and having to re-do unsaved work. There will likely be similar challenges ahead. So for now, make the best of the rest of summer vacation. Outdoor activities, with masks at the ready, and selective choices for screen time, are good ways to enjoy one more month of summer vacation.
The safest way to avoid contagion is still to have the family stay at home, however, you can safely venture out if you play by the new rules. In our area of Maryland, you don’t have to go far to find a park to explore. Strategize your timing to avoid heat, thunderstorms, and crowds—weekdays tend to have fewer people out. Anne Arundel County Parks have reinstated the $6 per car entrance fee for the regional parks on Saturdays and Sundays, however weekdays are still free until September 1.
Here’s a list of the regional parks:
Quiet Waters Park – 600 Quiet Waters Park Rd, Annapolis
Kinder Farm Park – 1001 Kinder Farm Park Rd, Millersville
Downs Park – 8311 John Downs Loop, Pasadena
Fort Smallwood Park – 9500 Fort Smallwood Rd, Pasadena
Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary – 1361 Wrighton Road, Lothian
There’s a Pandemic On
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has been steadily advising us to wear a mask wherever six-foot distancing may not be possible. The state of Maryland requires masks for ages two and up indoors (when not at home). Incidentally, misinformation is causing some confusion about a build-up of carbon dioxide when wearing a face mask, however, this is not true for healthy individuals.
A common adaptation to the current health crisis for families has been to relax standards about how much time children spend playing video games, watching movies, and for those who are old enough, connecting with friends through social media. Balance screen time with “real” activities, but look for new and interesting things to do online. Anne Arundel County Public Library lets you check out a Playaway Launchpad which can range widely in subject matter for ages from toddlers to middle schoolers. Learn about wild animals, practice multiplication facts, play with engineering principles, or learn to speak Chinese! Keeping academic skills sharp is another valid use of this time.
To make up for cancelled programs from last spring, Chesapeake Children’s Museum has been offering Zoom workshops for Girl Scouts this summer and will schedule more for the coming school year. From the safety of their own homes, Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes can engage in activities with each other on screen while meeting requirements for specific badges and journeys.
Family life has been affected by the pandemic for sure. This situation reminds us to enjoy the moment with our children.
Deborah Wood, Ph.D. is a child development specialist with degrees in Early Childhood Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Workshops for parents, teachers, and childcare professionals can be found at: drdebbiewood.com.
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