1.9.21

7 Ways to Encourage Socially Distanced Playtime

Right now, it’s difficult to socialize with others because of the risk of virus transmission. You can take precautions, but it’s still dangerous to meet up with your child’s friends often because of the danger it poses.

Luckily, you can navigate the issue by choosing a few creative ways to allow your child to enjoy playtime even while socially distanced. While not everything listed is a solo activity, your child will learn the importance of staying safe and adhering to social distancing rules while having fun. 

The Best Ways to Foster Understanding About Social Distancing

Social distancing, while familiar to adults, might not make sense to every child. Children are social, so it makes sense that they want to see their friends even if it’s dangerous. You can help them stay social while also staying safe by providing alternatives and teaching them the importance of simple tasks like washing their hands.

1. Set Up Video Playdates

While it may not be the same thing as an in-person playdate, your child can still see their friends over a video screen. Encourage them to embrace how technology allows them to talk to their friends.

You can prompt your child to talk about their day and show off their room or favourite toys. This way, it allows your child’s friends a glimpse into your kid’s life without risking anyone’s health.

2. Encourage Online Gaming

If your child is old enough, encourage them to play games with their friends. Technology has come so far in just a few short years, and kids can play with their entire friend group on mobile apps. If your child’s friends like playing games, steer the other parents in your group toward downloading a game all the kids can enjoy together.

Online games, while tricky, can elicit more happiness from players than by playing single-player games. If a game has voice chat capabilities, your kid and their friends can talk to each other as if they were in the same room. Allowing them to play a multiplayer game with friends can show them that you can still have fun with other people while being safe.

3. Teach Good Manners

Always remind your child to cover their mouth and nose when they sneeze or cough. If they’re old enough, you can teach them how to wash a mask correctly and when to dispose of it or wash it, if it’s a reusable mask.

It might help if you present the facts about virus transmission in a fun yet serious way. Try to turn learning into a game by having them guess the correct answers. Through this type of learning, your child should understand the dangers of meeting up with friends frequently during the pandemic.

4. Visit Safe Playgrounds

Frequent the playgrounds that have fresh air all around them and that go the extra mile to keep your child safe during this time. You might visit a playground with fun, brightly coloured designs on the ground. Just like how you may see arrows in locations you visit, these designs serve as a social distancing boundary that can help your child visualize the 6-feet-apart rule.

5. Focus on Individual Play

While your child’s friends are important to them, you should also encourage them to play and learn independently. You should explain to your child that it’s essential they play alone some days to slow the spread of the virus and decrease the likelihood of mutations so that life can get back to normal and they can see their friends without restrictions.

Introduce your child to fun crafts, like making homemade slime or creating a butterfly out of popsicle sticks, or fun activities that you can do indoors or in the backyard. Soon, they’ll be having so much fun that they won’t mind spending a day with individual playtime.

6. Take Play Outdoors

If you can stay within your local community, outdoor play is an excellent idea that allows your child to socialize more safely. Transmission of COVID-19 is lower in outdoor spaces, meaning your child will be more protected than if they were to meet up with friends indoors.

See if you can organize a neighbourhood-wide playdate. You can orchestrate a giant activity like painting a mural on paper that can be hung up at the entrance of your neighbourhood. If you can’t do something that large, provide sidewalk chalk for kids to doodle on the streets or in your driveway.

7. Teach the Importance of Sanitizer

It’s never too early to show your child what hand sanitiser can do and why it’s so important. You must drive home that your child should use hand sanitiser when they feel their hands are dirty if they don’t have access to washing their hands. Likewise, stress the importance of your child keeping their hands away from their face while they’re out and about with you.

Practice makes perfect, and it’s not likely that your child will understand all these new rules from the beginning. Reward every little step toward being cleaner and safer, and your child will pick up on the importance of sanitizing their hands and keeping their distance.

Encourage a Different Kind of Playtime

Children can be hesitant to change when they’ve done things a certain way for a long time. Socially distanced play is nothing new by this point, but your child may still wonder why they can’t see their friends in person every day. Be receptive to their feelings, but explain that their health matters the most to you.

Once you provide them with the education they need and a fun alternative to seeing their friends face-to-face every day, your child will understand.


*This is a collaborative post*

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