Reopening: Safe Summer Activities

Categories: General News, Other, Our Perspective

Summer is almost halfway through (can you believe it?!) and your summertime fun has almost certainly looked different this year.

How do you ensure your kids have a safe summer? You may have had to change your routine, planned activities, and maybe even your finances as a result of safety precautions. We’re all navigating this uncharted territory of the pandemic together.

With all these considerations, what does it look like to also protect children from child sexual abuse? You may have to go to work without your normal childcare available, or maybe you’re at home with your kids and need to pivot to find safe summer activities that affordable.

What’s the solution for helping kids have a safe summer vacation from the coronavirus and child sexual abuse?

When thinking through solutions, it’s important to think about the three main principles of minimizing the opportunity for abuse – preventing isolation, keeping situations interruptible, and setting expectations. Try to think through ways your COVID-19 precautions can align with these principles.

“I have found that using a schedule helps us brainstorm new ideas for activities that we might not have thought of before. My son is also old enough that he can come up with his own schedule, then we talk about what he has planned. This way he’s practicing decision making and learning about time management.” – Gwen.B, Mom

Here is a sample daily calendar of activities you can adapt to help keep your kids busy and safe this summer:

  • 8 AM Rise and Shine! Get ready for the day.
  • 9 AM Cook/Get breakfast – what are some age-appropriate ways for your kids to help you prepare the meal?
  • 10 AM Read a book & have them write daily summaries of what they take away from the book. Any talking points you can use from what they learn to relate to real life? Have them read in common areas that can be observed or in their room with the door open.
  • 11 AM Get some fresh air! Get chalk and draw on the sidewalks or play hopscotch. Play-yard games like kick-the-can or red rover. Help pick weeds from the yard – make it a game – who can get the most? Check out this Nature Bingo idea from Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
  • 1 PM Lunch
  • 2 PM Journal time – have your kid(s) write down how they are feeling, what they are excited about, what they are stressed about. For older kids who prefer apps, check out the Mood Meter App.
  • 3 PM Play online learning games if you have internet access. NetSmartz is a great resource to teach children about internet safety in a fun way. No internet? No problem, play the What-If Game, work on a puzzle, or do arts and crafts.
  • 4 PM Turn on some music for a dance party/contest.
  • 5 PM Connect with family members and see how everyone’s day was. Does anyone seem off? Any highs or lows from the day to share? If you make this a habit, it will be easier for you to tell if something may be wrong.
  • 6 PM Dinner
  • 7 PM Build a fort in the living room and watch a movie before bed.

We know all kids are different, some may be more into reading while others may prefer to be outside. Be flexible and take what works from the above and add in what works best for your family.

Additional Resources:

One Day at a Time Monthly Calendar
Protecting Children During a Crisis Training
Monique Burr Foundation for Kids 5 Safety Rules Coloring Sheet
Alliance for a Healthier Generation Moving More at Home Activities
Safe Summer Camp

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