During this time, Social Distancing does not have to mean social isolation or avoidance. Several weeks of social isolation could lead to depressed mood, and several weeks of increased social avoidance could create more anxiety than usual around returning to school once remote learning is over.
Here are 12 ways to encourage your child to connect with others and be approach-oriented, to facilitate resilience in facing this unknown and uncertain time:
1. Take a daily walk with your child or as a family.
2. If you have access to a yard, play outside with your children. For example, you could throw a ball around with them or play frisbee.
3. Sing along or dance to favorite music as a family. Maybe you can even set up karaoke.
4. Start a new tradition, like a family game night.
5. Go for a drive as a family — the more scenic, the better.
6. Encourage your child to take part in video chats (e.g., via FaceTime) with extended family (e.g., cousins, grandparents).
7. Help your child set up a group video chat (e.g., via Google Hangouts or the House Party app) with their closest friends.
8. Encourage your child to call friends who they may usually only text.
9. If they are already into video games, encourage them to at least connect with a friend to play the same game via headset.
10. Many games (e.g., Settlers of Catan) have online versions. Help your child set up a virtual game night with their closest friends.
11. Many exercise studios are now streaming virtual exercise classes (e.g., Exhale, Yoga with Adriene). Figure out an exercise that you and your child like and do it together.
12. With schools moving to remote learning, encourage your child to actively participate in class at least once per class or per day (e.g., by sending a question to the chat stream).
Use this extra time at home as an opportunity to create new traditions in your family and promote physical activity.
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