By Mary Pletsch 07 Apr 2020 no comment 382 Views

As we all adapt to the “new normal” of physical distancing, it makes sense to relax some of the restrictions on your children’s screen time.  But this doesn’t mean allowing them to become total couch potatoes.  We’ve put together some ideas to keep kids engaged, both on and off line.

Technology can help with the stress of physical distancing

Playing video games together or chatting online can help kids maintain friendships with other children when they can’t play together in person.  Social connections are important for children as well as grownups.

As always, be aware of what your children are doing online:  they should use computers and phones in a public part of the house where you can ensure their games and their interactions are appropriate.

Similarly, using telephones or video messaging for “family conference calls” can help kids stay in touch with grandparents and other family members who don’t live in the same home.

Devote some time each day to family interaction.

Ideas include:

Kids spend the day writing a play, designing sets, props and costumes, and act it out for you that night

Scavenger hunts (fun both inside and outside!)

Kids spend the day hiding toys and in the evening, you search for them

Board game nights

Kids design a game (or video game level) for you to play together that evening

Kids make their own comic book (or story with illustrations) and you read it together

If nobody is showing symptoms, go outside as a family for driveway sports, outdoor games, bike rides, etc.  Make sure to keep your distance from people who don’t live in the home with you.

This isn’t a good time for kids to be outdoors unsupervised.  Ensure they are maintaining proper distance from people they don’t live with.

Theme days at home

Theme days are always fun, particularly when kids do most of the organizing.  If the theme is “prince and princess,” kids could help make a “royal feast” for dinner, make crowns for the whole family to wear, act out fairy tales, etc.

When the theme is “super heroes,” kids could design their own hero and put together a costume.  They can tell a story about how their heroes got their super powers.  They might read comic books with you before bed.

If the theme is “zoo,” your kids can build a “zoo” with their stuffed animals.  Then they act as the “zoo keeper” and take you on a “guided tour.”

The trick is that you are not “putting on a show” for your kids; it’s your kids who keep busy planning the theme day’s activities.

Make an effort to minimize stress as much as possible.

The goal is that children will grow up remembering this time as an unusual period of their lives where everyone came together to stay safe.

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