Social contacts are important to children. Children learn various skills when playing or interacting with other people and above all it is FUN to be with friends!
Maintaining social contacts and meeting friends is difficult during COVID-19 and distance learning. It is anyway important that children feel that they have friends and that they are liked – even when they cannot see their friends in person that often.
Here are 10 tips how to maintain social contacts during restrictions and distance learning:
- Organize a video call with a friend / group of friends frequently, eg. every Wednesday at 4pm. There is something to look forward to!
- Share videos or photos via Kindiedays or other safe means and comment on others' photos and videos.
- Write a letter together and send it to a friend. Write about what you have done, how are you feeling and what you would like to do when you meet next time. Ask some questions and wait for a reply in the mail! If you cannot find the words draw a picture instead.
- Organize a play date outdoors in the nearby forest, beach, park... Only meet if you are perfectly healthy and take care of the local recommendations (clean hands, a mask, distance…)
- Keep seeing 1-2 selected friends who live nearby. Discuss with a neighbor family if children could meet each other every now and then. Make sure you keep seeing the same child(ren) and meet only when everyone is perfectly healthy. Meet at somebody’s home or outside.
- Make a photo album where you put photos of friends and other close people. Talk about the photos with the child; what you have done together, where you have been etc.
- Organize a toy exchange. Children might not be able to play together, but maybe they could play with each other’s favorite toys? Swap some toys / books / games for a week (remember to wash the toys beforehand and also afterwards!)
- Recipe swap? Children might not be able to eat snack together, but sharing favorite cooking or baking recipes might be fun!
- Leave a surprise on your window. Anyone walking / driving beside your home will be delighted if they see a teddy bear, a Christmas craft, a note ‘hello you’ or a compilation of funny items at your window. Ask your friends to do the same and walk around the neighborhood to see what they have come up with!
- Keep connection to people by talking about them and thinking about them with children. It is ok if you miss someone or are sad for not being able to meet. Discuss about it! Play is a great tool in this as well - everyone can be present in the child's play anytime, anywhere!
PS Check also our previous blog posts about children in distance learning.