5 Ways Kids Can Stay Connected and Social While Social Distancing

Updated: May 29, 2020
Not only is it important to keep the the kids learning and entertained during social distancing, but it's also important to ensure they still feel social in some way. Here are five tools kids and parents can use during quarantine to remain connected and social.
5 ways to keep kids connected and social during social distancing

In these unprecedented times, we are all dealing with the effects of social distancing. Though we know it is absolutely essential to stay home whenever possible during this global pandemic, the physical distance from friends and loved ones can be extremely difficult for people of all ages to deal with. Children are not immune to this experience. Whether children are expressing it or not, they do need interactions with others for the sake of their social emotional health.

More: How Parents Can Support Their Teens During Social Distancing

Here are five ways kids can stay connected and social while social distancing:

Video Calls

This is an ideal way to connect with family members and grandparents who do not live in your household. Creating a standing time each day or week for this connection can help to establish a much needed routine for everyone. There are many options for connecting this way. You can use FaceTime if you have iPhones, the video feature in Facebook Messenger, an app called Houseparty, or the video conferencing platform called Zoom. If you do use Zoom, be sure to check out the recommended privacy enhancing settings as there have been privacy issues with Zoom recently.

Messenger Kids from Facebook

Messenger Kids from Facebook is an easy and safe way for younger kids to chat on their own with their friends. You can reach out to trusted parents of your child’s friends to establish a connection. The best part about this medium is that you can fully control the experience. As the parent, you are in control of who your child can talk to. You can also see all of their messages. You will have a parent dashboard which allows you to monitor all of your child’s Messenger Kids activity. This is a great way to provide kids with the freedom to interact with their friends socially while they are protected from many of the most common online dangers and pitfalls.

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Virtual Classes

Many of the places and organizations that were previously providing your child with access to extracurricular activities are now moving to an online platform. This gives your child the chance to see beloved teachers, maintain skills, have fun, and see classmates. 
 
We have seen options from organizations like Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, karate studios, dance studios, yoga studios, cooking schools, art studios, gyms, Sunday School, and so much more. This is also a nice option for establishing routine and continuity which can be comforting and reassuring for children.

Check out ideas for entertaining an only child during the pandemic.

Virtual Playdates

Setting up a planned time and medium for a virtual playdate with your child’s friends can be fun for children of all ages. Toddlers and preschoolers may need a parent nearby to help facilitate interaction with fun questions and activities or with the planned use of similar toys and games. Older children can talk freely or play more independently. 
 
Having a set starting and ending time can be helpful with setting expectations. Planning with other parents to facilitate a craft or art project for kids to work on at the same time via Skype or another form of video conference can help children get used to interacting with each other primarily online. Other examples of planned interaction for playdates include story time, Play-Doh, charades, and freeze dance.

Social Games

Although you may not want your children to spend extended time on video games, certain games provide your child with the opportunity to interact with friends. This may be an option where you want to stay closer for occasional check-ins, but during this time of uncertainty, this could be a way to provide kids with an exciting way to interact virtually. For elementary school-aged kids, you could look into games like Roblox, Maker 2, and Mario. Older kids can do the same via Minecraft and Fortnite. This is also a particularly good option for kids celebrating birthdays during social distancing.

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