Helping Your Child Connect With Friends While Social Distancing
At this point in 2020, parents are still facing weeks – possibly months with their children at home. While some activities have slowly started to open back up, there is still a shortage of ways for kids to get necessary social interaction.
The opportunity to socialize and nurture friendships is more important than ever. Peer friendships provide emotional support and a sense of belonging, while being a key component in nurturing children’s self-confidence and self-esteem. Social interaction with peers also helps children relax, work on problem solving skills, and learn empathy, compassion, and emotional resiliency.
For many families, group get-togethers are still off-limits, so how are you supposed to help your child interact with peers, while remaining safe? The need for making lemonade out of lemons, has proved to be incredibly important this year– and these activities do just that. Your child CAN still interact with peers in safe ways!
Drive in Movie Night
Pop some individual bags of popcorn, grab some juice boxes, and project a movie onto a drop cloth, bedsheet, or garage door. At home movie projectors have become fairly inexpensive in recent years. Make sure to have everyone bring their own lawn chair or blanket, spread out, and enjoy the show!
Host a Zoom Book Club
If your child is old enough to read small chapter books, have them invite a few friends to do a weekly book club through Zoom. Let the kids can take turns choosing the books to read each week, and prepare some simple guided questions for them to answer:
What was your favorite part of the book?
Do you have any personal connections to the topic?
What did you learn from this book?
What was your favorite character in the story? Why?
What did you think about the ending?
Are there any movie characters that are similar to the characters in the story?
Would you give this book a thumbs up or a thumbs down?
Try a Zoom Game:
Give the first child in the call an item to look for in their room/house (could be a roll of toilet paper, a pair of PJ’s, etc.) and bring it back to the screen. Then send the next child off for something different. The goal is to try to get everyone to have a turn finding one item before the time has run out (about 1 minute per child).
Similar to the scavenger hunt, but tell the first child to find something in the room they are in that starts with the letter ____. They must bring the item to the screen and show the rest of the group. The next child will need to find something in their room that starts with the last letter of the previous item.
Choose the Monster Master. Set a timer for 2 minutes while the Monster Master will draw a simple monster face (don’t let anyone see). When the 2 minutes is up, the Monster Master will have 2 minutes to describe their monster with descriptive words to everyone else, while everyone tries to draw their monster using only the description given. When the 2 minutes are up, everyone holds up their drawing, and the Monster Master will get to decide whose they think looks most like their original. Whoever they choose gets a high5 or fist bump through the screen, and becomes the next Monster Master.
Write a Letter
Get back to the art of letter making, and have your child write notes to their friends. Mail the notes to friends that live far away, or walk them to the mailboxes of friends in the neighborhood. Everyone enjoys getting a surprise, and in the age of cell phones and text messages, getting real mail is completely underrated!
Go on an adventure at a playground, park, or your own backyard – but the only way to communicate is with walkie-talkies! This activity is unique, a great way to spend time outside, and a fun way for kids to interact while keeping a safe distance.
Take Online Classes
Taking classes online can help your child stay safe, meet other children with similar interests, or open them up to an activity that they may not have previously considered. You can head to Apollo Online and Chess Wizards Online to sign your child up for one of our exciting online classes!
With a little creativity and planning, time with friends is still completely possible. Let us know any other fun ways you are helping your child stay connected with their friends!