As cases of the coronavirus increase throughout the state, many may be scared to interact with those they live with or even go outside.

Pediatric Associates of Alexander City’s Dr. Eric Tyler said caution should be taken with COVID-19 in the area but it shouldn’t stop the daily interactions of small family groups who have been together for long periods of time, unless, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one of those people has been exposed to the contagious disease.

“There are no restrictions on getting in the yard, walking around the block or playing Wiffle ball with your children,” Tyler said. “If it’s with family you have always been in with, it’s very low risk. It doesn’t mean invite the entire neighborhood over.”

Some games Tyler suggested for siblings include hide and seek and kick the can.

Tyler said there are other ways parents can enrich their children during this time.

“I think it is a perfect time to resurrect reading out loud with your children,” Tyler said. “Parents should encourage their children to put on plays in the living room — even with costumes.”

One resource Tyler recommends is www.bornready.org which offers plenty of materials free of charge for parents to help build their children’s growing minds.

“It’s a wonderful resource with both education materials and educational games to play with children,” Tyler said.

Tyler also suggests parents use this time spent at home to reinforce family time or introduce a child to the kitchen.

“On the back of (Nestle) Tollhouse chocolate morsels is a wonderful recipe,” Tyler said. “You can teach a child how to cook beyond those just cut-and-place-on-a-cookie-sheet frozen dough cookies.”

Tyler said families can be socially conscious in this time and teach children what it is like to take care of the environment.

“One of my staff members was off Thursday,” Tyler said. “Instead of sitting inside, (the family) got out and picked up trash. They walked together. At the end of the day, they picked up 13 bags of garbage from the side of the road.

“They were tired but walking with their heads held a little higher. It is the perfect time to help teach children how to walk through life with all its ups and downs.”

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.