Social distancing isn’t anything anyone really wants to do, particularly those of us who have kids in the house. We’re all used to being active and out places. For right now, though, the centers for disease control are advising that we steer clear of public activities until the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) runs its course (here’s what parents should know about it). It’s important not only for our own health, but arguably more so, that we do our part to keep those with compromised immune systems safe.
This isn’t about us. It’s about doing the right thing for those who are counting on us.
Here are a few ways you can practice social distancing while still maintaining a sense of normalcy in your life.
If you’re in an area where schools and / or businesses have temporarily closed, don’t worry too much about your child’s schooling. Think of it as an opportunity to “unschool” for awhile; give kids a break unless they’re really struggling with a topic that you want to keep top of mind. If you need to work from home, know that there are many online homeschool options at your disposal. Interest-based learning, where the child chooses what to learn, can be a gift when kids feel cooped up. It helps keep them engaged.
Support local businesses however you can. Many small businesses will suffer significant financial loss from this pandemic. While local delivery options are still available to us (and with hopes that they will remain so), please choose small businesses in lieu of big box corporations that are likely to survive the financial repercussions of social distancing.
If you absolutely must go shopping (for food or essential supplies) in public, consider offering to shop for someone who might be at risk. Do you have a neighbor or friend whose health might be compromised?
This is a stressful time. All sorts of studies show that when we serve others, we’re happier. When you do something to brighten someone else’s day, it’s a win/win.
25 ways you can practice social distancing with kids at home (and how you can still get out sometimes).
Fortunately, there are still plenty of outdoor activities that don’t require contact with people outside your family. They also don’t require going anywhere where we’d be tempted to touch things (we’re steering clear of playgrounds).
Here are a few outdoor activities we’ve enjoyed this week or have planned:
- Go for a bike ride.
- Take a walk.
- Make chalk art on our driveway and sidewalk.
- Go “hunting” for mushrooms and draw pictures of what we find.
- Go on a photo safari through our neighborhood.
- Make a homemade scavenger hunt.
- Make cards for your neighbors and leave them somewhere they’re unlikely to have touched (you can use a stick to put in in their mailbox if need be). If you see them, wave at them. Someone suggested we bring back the bow and curtsey — I kind of love that idea.
- Collect acorns.
- Dig for fossils in our yard.
- Start a rock collection.
- Go on a picnic.
- Start a garden.
- Weed. (What child doesn’t love being trusted with a spade and gardening gloves?)
Here are our indoor social distancing activities:
- Paint the acorns we’ve collected and make a homemade game of checkers.
- Rearrange the living room furniture to make a gymnastics arena.
- Hold a family dance party.
- Bake our favorite allergy-friendly (or “regular version”) zucchini bread recipe.
- Read our beloved books (afflink). Better than buying them, max out your library card and read them online!
- Mend all the socks. (Yes, we really did. Again, what child doesn’t love being trusted with a needle, scissors, and thread?)
- Write stories together.
- Tell stories together. One of our favorite games is where each family member adds one sentence or one small section of a story then hands the story off to the next person to continue telling it. It gets very entertaining and everyone stays engaged in the activity!
- Make music with whatever we’ve got!
- Make artwork together.
- Enjoy completely child-led play. Follow their lead. It’s simply lovely to see where they take us in their imagination.
- Watch a special movie or show together.
Social distancing with kids isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do, but it’s a small sacrifice to make for control and prevention for those around us. We all want to be part of the solution so we can get back to life as usual.
Sarah R. Moore is an internationally published writer and the founder of Dandelion Seeds Positive Parenting. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. She’s currently worldschooling her family. Her glass is half full.