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Oregon Family Magazine

Socializing Kids During Social Distancing

09/01/2020 07:52PM ● By Sarah Lyons
My kids love having playdates, seeing friends at their sports and activities, and going to school but during quarantine and while following social distancing guidelines, it’s been hard to maintain relationships with friends. Humans need social interaction but keeping our kids safe and healthy must be our priority. How can parents help kids maintain friendships during social distancing while keeping them safe from the spread of Coronavirus?

Take Advantage of Technology

If we were quarantined ten, or even five years ago, we would not have the advantages we do now with technology. Kids can participate in school, dance and music lessons, library programs, clubs and socialize online. We have video calls such as FaceTime and Skype to have face-to-face conversations with friends and loved ones from afar. We can livestream an unlimited number of resources, classes, and programs with the click of a button. Depending on your child’s age, they may need assistance, and all kids will need supervision while using these platforms, but they are a great tool for kids to stay entertained and socialized without leaving the house.

Host a Social Distanced Play Date

While not every age group can have a playdate without the risk of being closer than six feet apart, typically upper elementary school kids and older can follow the recommended guidelines. Consider allowing your child to have a hangout with one or two other children where they can play or chat while keeping a safe distance. If weather allows, host the gathering outdoors where there is fresh air. If this isn’t possible, consider asking everyone to wear a mask to limit exposure. 

Exercise with a Friend

Find friends that have similar interests and set up a time to get together and exercise. Ride bikes, go for a walk or jog, play catch, meet at the park, or go hiking. Generally these activities would be safe because they are outdoors and can be done at a safe distance while still giving kids time to socialize.

Celebrate Milestones

Birthdays, graduations, weddings, and other special occasions still come and go whether we are in quarantine or not. Show a friend you care by planning a birthday parade, putting a sign in their yard, delivering balloons, or dropping off a gift. Traditional celebrations may not be possible right now but that doesn’t mean you can’t show you care. 

Create a Club

Is your child into gaming? Reading? Chess? Encourage them to start a club and host it in a video conference call such as Zoom or Facebook Messenger. This is a great way to get together without exposing yourself or your kids to germs. 

We are in a unique situation and parents can’t rely on past experience to help them determine how to handle our current circumstances. Parents are having to get creative, use technology, and come up with unique ways to help their kids stay healthy and connected.

Sarah Lyons and her six kids live in the Midwest. Social distancing has been a big change to their norm, but they are enjoying the extra family bonding time.