5 Ways to Help Kids Stay Connected During Physical Distancing

We’re living in unprecedented times, where we have to rely on each other to stay away in order to stay safe. But that doesn’t mean we have to lose touch with those we love most while we’re at home—that’s why we prefer the term ‘physical distancing’ to ‘social distancing!’ Even the smallest kids miss their friends, grandparents and extended family, so we’ve rounded up five from-a-distance ways to help your rugrats stay connected. Together apart, y’know?

VIRTUAL PLAYDATES

Is your little one missing her daycare or school bestie? Set up a virtual playdate. Give the BFF’s parent a call (or, let’s be real, send a text) and choose a time and a platform (there are about a million video chat services now). Yeah, that’s the no-brainer part—you’re probably already doing this. But instead of relying on littles to carry on a conversation that likely isn’t going to last long (there’s only so much to say about Paw Patrol and what’s for lunch), give them a shared activity. Play dough or LEGO challenges, the draw-each-other’s-self-portrait game and even at-home scavenger hunts are all easy to do in your own homes while maintaining the interaction.

SIDEWALK MESSAGES AND PORCH DROPS

It’s true that we can’t visit or hug our people right now, but that’s not to say we can’t cheer them up in other ways. Visit friends and family members and leave messages in sidewalk chalk outside of their homes (maintaining the appropriate physical distance, of course). Or go one better and leave cards or small gifts on the porch or in the mailbox. Protect your loved ones by giving your pressies a Lysol wipedown before dropping!

*This one is subject to the social distancing rules in your municipality. As the rules change, this may not be possible. Be sure to check before heading out.

LONG-DISTANCE STORYTIME

You don’t even need to have a video chat-enabled device for this one. Give the grandparents a call and let your kids tell them a story (for school-aged kids, they can practise their reading by reading Grandma or Grandpa a book!). If you do have video ability, kids will get a kick out of showing the pictures, just as their teacher would in school.

GAMES NIGHT, PHYSICAL DISTANCING-STYLE

Download a game or trivia app where multiple players can challenge each other. There are myriad trivia or “board game” options (like chess, Scrabble, etc.) Have friends and family download the same app and set up accounts on their devices so your kids can challenge their friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. to rounds of fun.

COOKING CLASSES FROM AFAR

If you’ve got a kiddo who is interested in learning to cook, now’s the perfect time to foster that curiosity. If you have a family member who loves to be in the kitchen, have your little one arrange a time for a cooking class with them. They can choose a recipe to make together and your child can have one-on-one live instruction. Just don’t be too far away, so you can help when the oven, the stove or a knife are involved.

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