Teens, Tweens and COVID-19
Questions and Answers on Gathering Safely
Article was submitted by Katie Souliere, RN
Ottawa Public Health
Your kids are bored. They only tell you that about 75 times a day. If you are a working parent, juggling work and home life is trickier than ever. Maybe over the past few weeks you have let your tween/teen get together with their friends. You have carefully weighed the pros and cons and allowed them to expand their social circle for the sake of their sanity, and yours.
Ottawa Public Health wants to help you make informed decisions. Currently, gatherings of more than 10 people outside your household is not allowed. But, we know that real life versus expectations are two different things, and we hope we can provide some guidance here for parents and their tweens/ teens.
Q: My 12-year-old meets with their friends at the park to play soccer on nice days. How can I help them understand the importance of physical distancing?
Firstly, kudos to any tween interested in getting a bit of sun and exercise!
The City of Ottawa’s Parks and Recreation department does allow the use of sports fields for groups smaller than 10.
.Q: My 14-year-old has been going to their friend’s house to play video games. I am worried because I have asthma. Does this put me more at risk?
If you have asthma you are at risk for more severe effects if you contract the virus, but you are not more likely to get COVID-19 because you have asthma.
It is important to keep in mind that the more exposure your household members have to others outside of the house, the higher the risk of contracting COVID-19. It is best to limit interactions with people outside of your home.
Q: My 17-year-old informs me of where they are going, but I do not have control of who, or how many people they will see. Is there anything I can do to make sure they are safe in their interactions? Yes. You can provide your teen with the information they need to stay safe and reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19.
- Physical distancing: if possible, stay two metres a part.
- Wearing a mask: wear a mask when they could get too close. Consider buying or making a personalized mask for your teen in a pattern they choose.
- Hand washing: remind your teen to ALWAYS wash their hands when they get home. Provide hand sanitizer at the front door or put up hand washing signs around the house as a reminder. Remind your teen to wash their hands before touching their eyes, nose and mouth.
OPH knows that every situation presents unique challenges for every parent. Being informed is the best way to equip yourself in supporting your teen/tween. You may not be able to control their actions, especially outside the home, but you can help them understand that they play a part in reducing the spread of COVID-19.
We urge parents to visit our Facebook Parenting in Ottawa Page, to join our daily conversations about navigating parenthood, especially in this exceptional time. Or, visit our website, to get more information on parenting during COVID-19.