It’s been hot lately. Ridiculously hot. And to make it all worse, we’ll hit record temperatures here in Washington this weekend. So yesterday instead of taking Sofie to the splash park in the middle of the day, I waited until it was almost bed time to avoid sitting in the hot sun, watching the kids stay cool.
It seemed like a good way to let her play but also not have to overheat myself. And while I was crouching down next to Henry and simultaneously searching for Sofie with my eyes as she ran all over that splash park, I noticed something.
The park was crowded. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many kids there before. They were playing and yelling, jumping through fountains, enjoying the cool streams hitting them. At first look, the kids seemed to be playing together, but upon taking a closer look, I noticed that was not the case at all. Unless the kids were siblings (you can normally tell by the way they run to the same parent or wear matching clothes), the kids were only playing around each other, not together.
This is something I’ve noticed a few times since parks reopened, but it usually doesn’t feel as bad as it did yesterday. My daughter, who is social to the point of making me scared she’ll one day leave with someone else, was not playing with anyone.
I watched as she ran, blissfully, through the water, skipped by other kids, and eventually, sat by herself on a little chair she had been coveting, hunched over, and pouting. It broke my heart. This little girl usually finds a best friend every time we go to the park, but yesterday she was all alone.
I wondered. Is this a sign of the times? Have we been slowly socially distancing our children with technology? Or is this a sign of children who have spent a full year in household isolation? Is it us, the parents? Are we too quick to hide behind our technology and become standoffish with people in real life? Whatever it is, I say we put a stop to it.
Things are opening back up, the masks are coming off, and it’s time we socialize our kids again. It’s time we socialize again.