How to Keep Kids Safe with Social Distancing
June 04, 2020
With the new normal forcing majority of Americans to start working from home, millions of children all across the country are not just adjusting to online classes but to strict rules on social distancing. For you, this might mean trying to explain to your kids just what’s going on in the world and why things can’t go back to the way they used to be. When it comes to educating your kids it’s important to be firm but nurturing, strict but understanding and blunt but loving. These seem like a difficult set of emotions to work with but with a few simple guidelines and tips, you’ll find that teaching your kids about social distancing can be fun for not just your kids but to you as well.
When it comes to explaining to your children why social distancing is important, you have to first establish the why social distancing is important. Part of this is educating them on the Corona virus. While this may seem like a daunting task, being open to your children’s questions is a crucial part of opening a forum for you and your kids. By being open you can allow them to express their emotions and address ways in which they can cope with the sudden changes that come with the New Normal. It’s important to limit the amount of time your family spends watching the news and how much information is given. Children are easily overwhelmed if they’re given too much information, so it’s important to limit it to the facts and ensure that they’re provided with developmentally appropriate information. You wouldn’t talk to your 5 year old in the same way as your 16 year old; they’d both have different ways of understanding and taking in the information. By being open you give them enough space to voice their concern and enough time for you to truly understand the needs of your kids.
Create a New Routine
Now that school’s out and might be suspended until further notice, it’s important to start creating a new routine for your children. With the uncertainty of times, providing your kids with a routine can provide them something within their control. Routines provide children with guidance so that they can relieve some anxiety in such uncertain times. If your kids are participating in online schooling, designate certain times of the day for their breaks and create family time between. This allows you to connect with them leading to avenues of openness. Encourage your kids to follow a healthy sleep schedule as part of their routine. This not only lowers their risk for depression but also helps build healthy habits that will be vital for them in the long run.
Connect despite the Distance
Part of what makes teaching kids about social distancing difficult is that they may want to see their friends and hang out like they used to before lockdown restrictions were placed. Address this separation anxiety by encouraging ways children can connect socially and emotionally. A great way to do this is by trying to connect with your own family outside of the home. Encourage video calls and online games you can play together and encourage them to do the same with their friends. By first setting an example and showing them how this can be done, you allow your kids to experience that connection and show how they have the opportunity to do it with their friends as well. Remember, humans are socially beings so it’s healthy to encourage connecting with friends despite the distance. This also allows you the opportunity to also educate their friends to ensure that they too are practicing safe and practical social distancing measures.
Get Creative and Have Fun
When it comes to teaching kids the importance of social distancing, it’s important to give them quick guidelines on how they can practice that. You can do this by gamifying the experience. A quick and fun way to do this is with a tiled floor; have your kids stand within a couple of tiles and show them the best distance to keep when going outside. By giving them a visual understanding of the distance, you provide them with a concrete reference that they can go back to whenever you go outside. You can even gamify this by playing a revised version of tag where the goal is to ensure that you have that distance between one another. If your kids love playing ‘the floor is lava’, adapting it and changing the rules can help ease the anxieties that come with social distancing. The key is to leave a lasting impression through fun, if you’re kids are having fun they view it less like a rule and more of an exciting experience.
These are just a couple of ways you can help educate your children on social distancing. What’s important is creating stronger family bonds. A great way to do this by finding more creative ways to do activities together. Try exercising together while staying at home, you can try creating a family tour de France with V9 Desk Bike, you can take turns and adjust the height for each person in the family! Promoting health in the family is about not just being careful but also building healthier habits. For more tips regarding coping with COVID-19, lifestyle health tips and more, be sure to check out the Flexiwellness Center.