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Family Time in Springtime!

During a time when it feels like everything has changed, it is even more important to show love for your child by being engaged with them and providing a routine. Physical distancing and isolation are affecting children’s mental health and development. Most of the people they see are wearing masks, which make it hard for children to learn facial expressions and communication skills. There are also restrictions around play which limit playmates to those in their house1. That’s why it’s so important that we take the time to play with our children! 


Playtime should be quality time. Put those phones away! When you pay attention to your child, they feel loved and safe which helps them thrive. Here are some tips to nurture your relationship with your child:

  • Cuddle
  • Respond to their needs
  • Play with them
  • Encourage them



Understandably, stress levels have increased during the pandemic. So much is unknown and constantly changing. Children are affected by their parents’ stress levels2, so it’s important to take care of you! Here are some tips for reducing stress that can be used by the whole family:

  • Listen to music
  • Eat healthy
  • Get enough sleep
  • Exercise3
  • Spend time outdoors4


Outdoor Play

Playing outside is good for the entire family’s physical and mental health! Studies have shown that spending time in nature can reduce stress4. Round up the household and try some of these outdoor spring activities!

  • Dress for the weather! Ensure your child has a waterproof and wind-resistant jacket, comfortable shoes (or rainboots for rainy days) and a wide-brimmed hat5
  • Splash around in puddles
  • Grab some chalk and make a masterpiece
  • Create an obstacle course
  • Take a walk in nature6


Playing Safe During COVID-19

COVID-19 is still here but that doesn’t mean we have to cancel all our plans; just modify them! Here are some tips for staying safe while playing outside:

  • Bring hand-sanitizer and wash your hands before and after using play equipment
  • Choose a space that isn’t crowded
  • Maintain physical distancing from those outside your household
  • Bring masks. They are only required if you’re within six feet of someone from outside your house and are not recommended for children younger than two7.

You may have to pack a few extra items but there’s still lots of fun to be had! Get the family together and enjoy some quality-time in the great outdoors. 

Here are some websites to explore about active, outdoor play in spring:






1Araújo, L. A., Veloso, C. F., Souza, M. C., Azevedo, J., & Tarro, G. (2020). The potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on child growth and development: a systematic review. Jornal de pediatria, S0021-7557(20)30209-6. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jped.2020.08.008

2Boston Basics. (2021). Maximize Love, Manage Stress. Boston Basics. https://boston.thebasics.org/en/the-basics/maximize-love-manage-stress/ 

3School Mental Health Ontario. (2020). Self-Care 101. School Mental Health Ontario. https://smho-smso.ca/ 

4Ontario Parks. (2020, October 10). Mental health benefits of the outdoors. Ontario Parks. https://www.ontarioparks.com/parksblog/mental-health-benefits-outdoors/ 

5Ottawa Public Health. (2020). Active Living. Ottawa Public Health. https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/professionals-and-partners/active-living.aspx#Spring 

6Boston Basics. (2021). Explore through Movement and Play. Boston Basics. https://boston.thebasics.org/en/the-basics/explore-through-movement-and-play/ 

7Toronto Public Health. (2021, February 2). COVID-19 Guidance for Outdoor Playgrounds and Fitness Equipment. City of Toronto. 900e-COVID-19-Guidance-Outdoor-Playground.pdf (toronto.ca) 

Julia St.Pierre, Nursing Student, for the Middlesex-London Community Early Years Partnership


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