As we begin to navigate the different phases of our state’s reopening plan, stay at home orders are still widely encouraged to slow the spread, keep us healthy and keep our hospital numbers at bay. More time at home means less social interaction for us and our children. As our children grow, they are honing social skills necessary to help them communicate effectively, practice empathy and learn trust and respect amongst their peers and community. Maintaining social contacts and relationships is essential to keep stress levels down and nurture a level of togetherness that can still be felt while staying physically distanced.
Video chat with loved ones often
Whether across the country or down the street, technology has a way of keeping us close and connected. Encourage your children to video call friends and loved ones on a daily basis. A 10-minute chat can boost mood, lower stress levels and give them the interaction they so desperately crave. Schedule calls ahead of time so they have something to look forward to. This will also allow you to set time aside from the tasks of your day to focus on the call with them. Not only can they grow in their emotional intelligence by staying connected with others, their conversation skills get a wonderful boost as well. Recounting what they did yesterday to their grandmother is a great skill to build in storytelling and ELA for the future.
Have fun with old-school letter writing
How refreshing it is to receive a handwritten letter or card in the mail? Known now as, mostly, a thing of the past, letter writing should always be in style. Purchase some inexpensive stationary for your child and let them write notes to their friends and family. Use stickers, brightly colored pens and stamps to decorate the letter and envelope. Have your child participate in placing the stamp and sending out the letter. This is a fun activity and a great lesson about the postal service. Through this they are also working on their writing, reading and comprehension skills. The smile on their face once they receive a reply letter is the icing on the cake.
Create encouraging notes for your neighborhood or local frontline heroes
Using materials, you probably already have stashed at home (think poster board or computer paper, markers, colored pencils, crayons, stickers and stamps), create fun and encouraging notes and posters to hang in your window. Those that pass your house will feel uplifted while reading the sweet notes. If you personally know any frontline heroes, from doctors and nurses to grocery store clerks, have your child create little letters of encouragement to pass along to them. Making others smile will bring happiness to your child, who in turn, will feel more connected with others. This is a fun art class session with your whole family.
Get outside and explore then vlog about it
COVID-19 has forced us to slow down and embrace the surroundings that are in our immediate vicinity. With that, we’ve ventured out to local trails, beaches, parks and other outdoor spots for some out-of-house adventures. While you plan your next fun time outside, even if it’s just a day in your backyard or in the pool, consider vlogging about it (A vlog is a video blog used to talk about a particular instance or moment in time). Share your fun vlog moments with family and friends via email or on social media and encourage them to share some of their adventures with you too.
Social interaction is important even during the trying times that we are facing as a world. Encourage your children to interact with those who bring them peace and happiness often; it’s good for their health. Finding activities that foster connection while also aiding in their academic progress is a plan that leads to overall social and educational success in their lives.