Coronavirus is in our community, adding challenges to many aspects of our lives. Parents are dealing with school closures and the need to practice social distancing, meaning physical separation and limited contact with others in order to help prevent the spread of disease. Some children and adults may begin to feel isolated during this time. Here are some ways to practice social distancing without feeling isolated to help maintain mental health.
It’s not every day that you hear a pediatrician telling you to turn to technology. However, there are some ways technology can be beneficial during the outbreak.
Whether you call or video chat, technology can help you stay connected to family and loved ones. Some relatives, like grandparents, may need to stay home in order to prevent illness. A simple phone call will keep them from feeling isolated, allow you to monitor them, and maintain your children’s relationships with them. Additionally, research has shown that children under 2 years of age can learn words from video chatting with an interactive adult.
Technology can also help keep kids busy. Children between the ages of 2 to 5 can learn from well-developed, high quality programs and media. Interactive programs that use touchscreens can also facilitate learning. Sesame Workshop and Public Broadcasting Service programs have been found to teach literacy skills to preschoolers.
Social distancing doesn’t mean staying inside. Getting outside and enjoying the fresh air is great for both children and adults. As long as your family is healthy and symptom free, try activities together such as gardening, walks, hikes, or bike rides. Please be sure to wash your hands often and avoid touching your face.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children do best when routines are regular, predictable, and consistent. If your child will be using distance learning while schools are closed, create a daily routine for learning time. Try to maintain morning, mealtime, and bedtime routines. This will provide your child with a sense of structure and predictability throughout the day and help them feel in control during this stressful time.
Finally, talk to your children about coronavirus and how changes to everyday life are affecting them. Listen to their fears, provide information, and be there to offer support and reassurance when they need it.
For more ideas on how to keep kids busy during the coming weeks, check out these articles from ParentMap: