Keeping kids and grandparents connected during social distancing

Health experts are encouraging family members to stay connected online during social distancing. (FOX 9)

One of the most difficult parts of the new normal amid the novel coronavirus pandemic is having to keep children and young adults away from loved ones or say no to basic activities like going to the playground.

During these unprecedented times, health experts are encouraging people to think of creative ways to keep in touch with each other, but still keep those around us healthy. From executive orders to stay at home to closing most establishments to eliminate crowds, it's all a great effort to flatten the curve and keep COVID-19 infections low. 

Explaining all the recent lifestyle changes, however, can be hard to explain to young children.

“Plan a time every day that you’re going to FaceTime or use some other electronic media with the grandparents, so they can be together,” said Dr. Rachel Tellez, a pediatrician with HealthPartners. “Read a book together, draw a special picture for grandpa, so that he can expect something wonderful every time, so there are ways you can do this for younger kids.”

Dr. Tellez says she's been getting calls all day from families asking what is safe while kids remain home from school and practice social distancing. She highly recommends just being with your immediate family. No playdates or trips to the playground. She says it’s okay to enjoy a walk or bike ride, but it’s important to seriously limit your interaction with the community right now.

“We want you around, so we are talking about hopefully months right now apart, so you can be around for years—high school graduation, marriages, and those other long distance times, so it’ll just take a while for our brains to get used to that’s just how it is, but we need to put the stop sign up for now,” said Dr. Tellez.

Without the face-to-face contact, life can get isolating, especially for older adults and the elderly. Allina Health Geriatric Specialist Dr. Emily Downing says that's where the magic of technology comes into play if you can.

“Drop an iPad off maybe with your loved ones, so you can FaceTime with them, but attempting to social distance is in their best interest right now,” said Dr. Downing.

Health experts want to remind people these changes won’t last forever and the sacrifices made now will ensure loved ones are around for a long time after this pandemic ends.