4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020


COVID-19 leads to a divisive playdate debate

Posted at 9:26 AM, Sep 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-12 09:26:31-04

We told you about the recommendation from the state’s top health executive. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun says to prevent the spread of COVID-19 right now, parents should consider not having playdates.

Parents had divided and strong responses. So how should parents handle this division?

Infectious disease experts will tell you as we open up places like schools face-to-face during a pandemic, we should try to further limit other physical interactions if possible.

The goal is to try to keep how many people we could potentially catch the virus from or give the virus to as low as possible.

Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun as a result made a recommendation on playdates.

“This social interaction is important for our children, but please consider not having those playdates as you normally would. Try to be creative and have video conference calls with your children’s friends if possible,” said Dr. Khaldun.

In an obviously unscientific poll on Twitter WXYZ-TV asked parents if they would still have playdates. Most said yes.

It leads to a playdate debate. Parents responded both in agreement and disagreement, voicing the importance of playtime with children for children.

Detroit Public Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti echoed that sentiment tweeting, “Honestly, with schools open how does this make sense? Needed for child development.”

“There are going to be situations where a friend wants to have a face to face playdate and you don’t feel comfortable with it,” said Dr. Zender.

Mount Clemens Psychologist Dr. James Zender says he predicts conflict. He says to handle it best, regardless of how you feel, you should prepare for conflict with the goal of being kind.

“Everyone is under unusual stress and dealing with losses, uncertainty, and unpredictability. When that happens we tend to regress and regressive thinking becomes all about me and what I want,” said Dr. Zender.

When people are possibly in that state, it is best to listen to them without arguing and acknowledge their feelings, then find a way to let them know you care about them, even if you, for example, simply will be declining their invitation for a play date.

“Try to reassure the person that you are still their friend and we will get through this. And we will have fun times again in the future,” said Dr. Zender.

Parents on both sides of the playdate are all are analyzing a variety of risks, and trying to figure out how to keep our families healthy mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Dr. Zender says empathize. Often, even when we disagree, we have a lot in common.