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Getting Social in Summer 2020

by Kellee Williams

Well, well, it's finally here. Summer has found us! But it is looking very different these days. Oh, how I hate to break it to you, but this summer, we will no doubt be changing the game. There is one term that sums up Summer 2020, "social- distancing." Yes, this summer parents will be adjusting to a lifestyle of parenting while social distancing.

I know we thought we'd be at parks and parties. Ice cream shops and amusement parks. Swimming pools and festivals. Not so much this summer. We will be celebrating graduations, baby showers, birthdays, and other accomplishments with drive by parades and front yard displays.

How else does that look exactly? Well, let us explore. I happen to have a toddler and preschooler as a part of my crew. At the start of summer, I had the bright idea that I would set my backyard up for them to have everything they needed to satisfy their thirst for outside entertainment. I was concerned about the safety of parks and public playgrounds, and it was something we'd wanted to do anyway. To my surprise, there was nothing, nada, zilch, zero, Little Tykes or Step 2 toy sets that cost less than $450. As you can imagine, I was quite surprised and disappointed that there was nothing in my price range. There were no sand or water tables available, no Cozy Coops, or toys that would make this just right. Whelp, the kiddos didn't notice that they were missing them and we just took walks in the evening instead. They tired themselves out, and we got our steps in, it was a great alternative.

Our trips to Zoos and other places look different now also. Early in the summer, we tried something new. We rode through the zoo in our vehicle. That was something so different and unexpected, but fun for the children. We discovered that impromptu trips to these types of places required planning now. We have to be strategic with purchasing tickets online and being on time for our time slots. One benefit is the food savings. The little ones appreciated a car packed with juice boxes and fruit snacks.

The education this summer with our children looks a lot different as well. There is much unrest in the country and it’s sure to affect our children. This summer is a great time to speak to their level of understanding. The news has shown us protests and pandemics and there is a lot of material to cover. We as parents have an opportunity to show our children both the good and bad of society. We are watching a leader make some very questionable and unwise decisions and there will be some explaining to do to our children. They will have questions about what they are seeing and what Black Lives Matter means. This summer can no doubt add to the lessons of learning.

Despite the “social distancing”, there are some things that we can count on in most homes. There will be freeze pops or ice cream in the freezer to get at our leisure when the temperature gets almost unbearable. There will be laughter and joy as we still get to enjoy the sun and warmth that the season brings. There will be the awe and wonder with the summer rainstorms and rainbow. And summer will be an opportunity to be the reason our children can hope that this world is indeed a good place.

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