There are so many anxieties that come with getting our children back with their friends and extended family members. It’s as important for them as it is for us to have human interaction outside the immediate family if you can.
I know its extremely scary times with COVID still booming in some places and restrictions being different in different areas.
I have noticed a big difference in my kids’ social skills even since being in lockdown and home for six months with me. One is more nervous and doesn’t like social settings who once used to be a bubbly socialising butterfly. Another doesn’t understand boundaries and social distancing because he is a hugger, toucher and more interactive with his buddies.
5 ways to get them socialising again safely:
1. We made sure to schedule video-chats each week with at least one friend for each child. Sometimes we did group chat of two friends. Anymore it gets a bit shouty and loud. We didn’t want lockdown to let those friendship bonds already made, fade. If you’re still in isolation and not back to school yet these really helped my two kids. It also taught them how to communicate better through electronics. At first, they mumbled and it felt awkward for both kids but we realised if we let them sit in the dining room on their own they talked more freely to each other. Just by overhearing some of their conversations I know it was amazing for both of my older kids.
2. Plan outdoor social distancing play dates. Go bike riding. Go for a scoot. Walk the dog with their friends and their dog. Before school started we met up with our close friends and their children and easily kept our distance on bike rides, scooter rides and they still could chat. It keeps you from reminded them a thousand times you’re too close or no touching. So it’s relaxing for everyone.
3. If your in an area that’s opened up more like ours or back to school. Be smart about it. Schools have bubbles so you can still have their friends that are in their school bubbles come over for a play date in your house. After all, they are in class together all week. Just be sure to wash hands and no sharing drinks. Easy. Makes life seem a bit more normal for them and you.
4. Get involved in after school activities that are easy to abide by the social distancing guidelines. Exercise is still so important for kids. And they can meet new friends too. Horse riding, Soccer, and other non-contact sports can be done safely outdoors. And gets us all back out to the house. Everyone wants that right now!
5. Virtual learning doesn’t have to be just for Math and English. During lockdown and even now, we have the kids doing the things they love like piano lessons, Spanish lessons, and ballet lessons online safely from our home. They don’t miss out on things they were already involved in and we save so much time not having to take them to a place to do it, waiting and then picking them back up. Win-win for everyone.
It’s just about thinking in a new way. Don’t overwhelm yourself too much but don’t completely hide away in fear. Kids need to interact with other kids. Parents need to interact with other parents. It keeps us all sane to know we are all in this together and all going through similar challenges. We have all had various anxiety about one thing or another even if it’s just how much “COVID weight we gained or how much alcohol consumed on a weekday/night during lockdown”.
Making socialising still fun yet safe is better than drilling into them: keep your distances, don’t touch, wash your hands and more commands. I don’t know about you but I don’t like being more of a nag. Gives me a headache. I have to nag them enough about picking up their toys and putting away their laundry. (LOL) No one wants to add to the long list of everyday normal parent nagging. It’s exhausting.
So get socialising safely and have fun again. It’s doable I promise.