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Helping Kids Stay Connected While Social Distancing

Social interaction is a vital part of any human’s life—adults and children. This quarantine is essential, but we can’t confuse social distancing with social isolation. It’s these times that force us to be creative and develop new ways to interact with our friends and family until we can physically see them again. 

Don’t forget about your milestones. While you won’t be able to “celebrate” in the traditional sense, you can still have a lot of fun. It’s hard for little ones to understand not being able to celebrate their birthday or their friends’ birthdays. Virtual celebrations, and birthday parades, can save the day! They’ll help your child feel celebrated and remembered during a time when they otherwise cannot see their friends. If you have something to celebrate: do it! 

Remember the power of the internet. Find an easy craft, game, or project for your child and their friends. You can set up a virtual meeting (check out Zoom or Skype) to kick off the project and then schedule weekly check-ins to see how everyone is coming along. A regular playdate will give your kids something to look forward to and you a little break. Visit Common Sense Media to see how to effectively get your child virtually set up for all their needs during this quarantine. 

Explore local attractions. For those of you who are comfortable and able, some fresh air never hurts. You may be surprised at the number of local outdoor activities that exist close to your home. The National Park Service can help you locate parks of all sizes nearby. You can filter out individual options if you’re looking for water features or trail walking. Pro tip: set up a map of your state, and have a family member pick a new place to explore each week. 

Don’t forget to talk. Distractions are crucial, but so is talking about what we’re trying to distract ourselves from. The impact of this crisis is heartwrenching and can lead to isolation, depression, loss of motivation, and more. If you start seeing any signs of this in your family or friends, don’t be afraid to seek help

We know this is stressful, but necessity breeds invention. You may find that during this time of quarantine, you discover information and build more robust and better relationships with your family. Who knows? Maybe the changes you made to accommodate this crisis will become a part of your daily life. Do what you can to keep yourself physically and mentally well during this time, and never forget to give yourself grace.