How can I help my child fill the social void of no friends or teachers during the school dismissal?
Parents should discourage their children from congregating together. Social congregating defeats the purpose of social distancing which limits the effects of COVID - 19. Students should maintain a distance of 6 feet away from others. This could certainly affect how they socialize during this time. However, here are a few suggestions that can help children stay socially connected with others.
- Stay in contact with teachers. Teachers will be trying their best to keep learning going beyond the classroom through regular contact with students which could include messages to and from students. Be sure to be proactive in this group and ask questions as much as possible, this will help to minimize the feelings of isolation.
- Getting outside isn't just a good idea, it's good for your physical and mental health. Go for a walk, a bike ride or, if possible, a family hike. If you are around others outside your circle of family, remember the 6-foot rule.
- Don't forget that pets can be great company for kids who are home alone. Many kids feel safer with a pet around — even a small one, like a hamster, can make them feel like they have a companion.
- Discovery Education has some great virtual field trips that students can explore. This can help lessen the feelings of isolation. https://www.discoveryeducation.com/community/virtual-field-trips/
- Children can check up on their friends and neighbors (especially elderly neighbors) by phone call. This will help students with an actual voice rather than just texting.
- In addition to completing schoolwork, give your child an important task to complete. Helping them to feel they are contributing to the well-being of the family can feel empowering in a time when things feel out of their control.
- Common Sense Media has recommendations for Safe Chat Rooms for students of all ages. Found here: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/lists/safe-chat-rooms-and-social-sites-for-kids
- Suggestions for activities for kids if schools are closed due to Coronavirus: https://time.com/5803373/coronavirus-kids-at-home-activities/
- Listen to audiobooks. Check out the online library at https://onlinelibrary.uen.org/login. Call your school to request a password if you do not have one.