My daughter just turned 5 and started Early Admission Kindergarten in January of this year. As a result, she is quickly blossoming into quite the social butterfly. She is always excited to return to school on a Monday morning and catch up with her classmates. During this unprecedented time of social distancing children amid COVID-19, I have tried to think creatively about how to maintain a safe level of social engagement for her. Here are my tips on keeping your kids social in a time of social distancing:
My friends and I have become accustomed to weekend meetups at parks, eateries, and crowded kid-friendly settings like Sea World or the zoo. It’s not easy explaining to our Littles why we can’t meet up en masse like they are used to. Trying to put a creative spin on staying connected with friends, I suggested that we have them draft short notes or art pieces to send to each other by mail. What kid doesn’t like receiving something hand-delivered by a postal worker in their name?
Send Each Other Video or Photo Messages on Messenger for Kids!
This one I have warmed up to more now that we’re supposed to be social distancing children amid COVID-19 pandemic. I have nothing against Messenger particularly, I just didn’t feel my 5-year-old really needed to get wrapped up in sending/receiving messages at her age. It is, however, an easy way to keep in touch with friends by video-chat or by sending an occasional photo message.
Message a Friend Walkie-Talkie Style on Voxer!
This is an app that I use to keep in touch with friends. I like that the contact doesn’t have to be in real-time, as it works like a walkie-talkie. Daily schedules don’t always align for connecting over phone calls, so Voxer is a nice alternative. This option will be most useful for children of two adults that have existing Voxer accounts to use. For instance, my daughter uses my account to leave 1-2 minute messages for her friend to listen to later on. It’s like leaving a voicemail without making the actual phone call and disrupting the recipient.
Have an Outdoor Adventure with a Friend at a Safe Distance!
It is in a child’s nature to want to be outside playing and exploring. Likewise, they should be able to do so with a friend. There are healthy practices to be reinforced when keeping your kids social in a time of social distancing. At least for my daughter’s age group, I recommend keeping a close eye on the outing to ensure boundaries are upheld. The options are definitely more limited in terms of what to do. A bike or scooter-riding outing where no direct contact is needed is one such activity. Similarly, a hike or nature walk allows a safe degree of socialization without physical contact.
Looking for tips on how to explain social distancing and coronavirus to your young child? This article sheds some insight.