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7 Ways Kids Can Socialize While Keeping Social Distance

7 Ways Kids Can Socialize While Keeping Social Distance

A kids ability to socialize with peers is key in helping them alleviate anxiety.


Kids who are normally in school together for six hours a day are now home without their peers—and the emotional effects of this isolation can be significant. Tovah Klein, a child development psychologist in Manhattan says kids need social  connection with one another to feel supported and calm. It also makes them feel “less anxious, which is particularly needed during times of change or stress.” Like now, for example. So what can families do to keep their kids social while still social distancing? We came up with some innovative ways for kids to interact with their peers even while at home. 
 

Set up an Online Playdate

Using a variety of social apps, such as Zoom, Facetime, Google Hangout and House Party, kids can arrange to "meet up" with one another in a virtual arena. There are opportunities for one-on-one hangs or group get-togethers—depending on what your child craves. Some even stay online together while doing homework or chores—just to have the peer company that they’ve been missing. Thanks to livestreams, kids can take 'field trips' to an aquarium or even a museum together.

Play a Game Online Together

Another way kids can interact is to join in on a simultaneous activity—like a game. For example, Pogo, Pokemon Go and Facebook Games allow friends to engage in the same game while chatting with one another. They could also meet on a virtual playdate and play the same board game in their own houses. Battleship anyone?

Go on a Neighborhood Hunt

Friends within short distances of each other can coordinate I-Spy scavenger hunts—a la the recent trend of people putting rainbows in their windows. Ask a group to leave a specific message or symbol in their windows, or anywhere else that’s visible from a safe distance away. Kids can then go on individual expeditions to find these items. 

Mail Actual Letters to Each Other

It’s old fashioned for sure but writing and mailing a letter to a friend is still a lovely act. It’s also a great way to practice handwriting and to teach kids how the mail system works. (Many don’t even know about envelopes and stamps.) It may also be an opportunity for intimacy—since online playdates can be overheard. And who doesn’t like to receive something personally addressed to them in the mailbox? 



Teach a Class on a Favorite Subject

Set up an online group playdate for one kid (or even a parent) to teach a lesson. Maybe it’s a magic trick, a song, a Lego tower—or another easy creative project that can be demonstrated and then imitated on the other end. Rotate amongst friends for who will teach the daily or weekly class.

Start a Book or Film Club

Invite a group of friends to read a specific, age-appropriate book and then set a time for them to virtually gather to discuss it. (See our list of where you can get free books.) Similarly, choose a kid-friendly documentary for everyone to watch on their own and then make a date to talk to each other about the film. Friends could also watch a film together using the popular Netflix Party app (or Airtime for those without a subscription). Or choose one of these ten other ways to share videos with friends online

Cook and Dine Together

Eating a meal together is a classic way to socialize so set up some lunch-time playdates—maybe even one where kids eat the same easy meal. Or start the date earlier with a simultaneous cooking experience—the kids can make the same lunch in their own kitchens while online with one another. Afterwards, they can sit down to enjoy it together. 

There are many other ways kids can stay in touch. A phone call, for example, might be just the novel outreach that they’ll cherish. But remember that it often falls to the parents to encourage these exchanges—and to make sure their own kids stay virtually social, and sane. 

 

RELATED7 Ways to Throw a Kid's Birthday Party While Social Distancing

 

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Shana Liebman

Author:

Shana Liebman is the features editor of NYMP. She’s a writer and editor who has worked for magazines including New York MagazineSalon, and Travel & Leisure,—and she is the mom of two energetic little boys.

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