By: James Donaldson
The current global situation has changed the way many people approach their everyday life. Flattening the curve of COVID-19 is dependent on social distancing, a public health practice that can slow the spread of the disease by limiting contact between people. This means that group gatherings, public events and even businesses are closed or cancelled in order to encourage people and families to stay home.
If you have kids, you know how hard it can be to keep them safe and entertained without leaving the house. While social distancing has proven to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, it’s also very difficult for many families. In general, people aren’t meant to be isolated creatures; we’re made for connection and social interaction.
If you or your kids begin to feel stir crazy as a result of social distancing, try incorporating some of these activities for social distancing into your daily routine:
1. Connect with others using video
Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. Your kids are likely used to being around other kids, family and friends on a daily basis. Try to utilize video technology to connect with others, even if it’s only for a few minutes a day. With tools like Zoom, Skype and FaceTime, you and your kids are able to see your loved ones “in person,” which can help feel less stuck at home, away from all human interaction.
Make sure you take advantage of these tools for yourself, too. Catch up with your friends, share a cup of coffee with your mom or dad, or keep in touch with your colleagues throughout the day. It’s even helpful to stay in touch with educational institutions or religious organizations, if they are a part of your daily life.
2. Learn new things
Aside from keeping your kids sharp on their reading, writing and arithmetic, now may be the perfect time to learn a new activity together. Try a new recipe or learn a new game to keep things moving in your life. Hobbies and skills are not only a great way to pass the time, but also to give everyone in your home a sense of purpose while social distancing.
Do some research and take advantage of online videos, articles, forums and communities that can help get you started. You can learn an instrument online through instructional videos, or explore new places and world-renowned museums through virtual tours made available to you right from your own home.
3. Play outside
Social distancing also doesn’t mean you can’t leave your house at all. It simply means you should stay at least six feet away from others. When your kids start to get restless and need to burn off some energy, take a break and get outside!
Take a walk, ride your bike or just play a game in your backyard, as long as you get to enjoy some fresh air. If you’re near a lake or the woods, you can even go on a hike or spend some time fishing. Just make sure you aren’t going to a public playground, where you or your kids can pick up germs from shared surfaces.
4. Find projects around the house
If you’re feeling stir crazy, try finding small ways to love your home. Maybe it means doing a family art project that you can hang on the wall. Maybe it’s rearranging the furniture together. Social distancing is a lot easier when you and your family can embrace your space.
Perhaps you’ve been wanting to finish that scrapbook from your family vacation. Now may be the perfect time to get everyone involved and finish that project. Whatever’s on your list, make it fun and your kids will surely jump in.
5. Stick to your routines
One of the most helpful ways to stay grounded while social distancing is to keep up with your daily routines as much as possible. Try not to let your sleep schedule get too disrupted, make sure you get yourself dressed for the day, and make sure you’re prioritizing meal times with the family. You and your kids will benefit from a familiar routine, and you don’t have to add a bunch of new activities to keep everyone happy and healthy.
Find new routines to settle into as well, if necessary. If you’re used to working at an office, make sure you block out time and space to get your work done at home without disruptions. Whether you’re adjusting to a new work environment, starting a new job, or preparing for retirement, settle into your new routine as soon as you can to feel productive and at ease.
In addition to work and balancing family, make sure you are still getting plenty of sleep, exercise, and alone time to recharge. As a parent, social distancing can be hard on your mind and your body, so it’s more important than ever to be aware of your needs and make intentional effort to care for yourself.
Social distancing doesn’t have to be a negative experience. Stay in communication with your family to ensure everyone is on the same page and gets through this time safely and happily.