Maintaining friendships during lockdown can be difficult for most, particularly for children as it requires more effort than they’re used to. It is not as easy to keep in touch with friends if they are not seeing them every day at school. It was clear that the return to school towards the end of term 2 led to enhanced emotional wellbeing and many smiling faces. As they were able to socially interact with their friends, in person. The school holidays were fast approaching, and all were excited to physically hang out with their friends. However, the announcement of lockdown 2.0 during the holidays meant children were stuck at home and remote learning was set to begin again.
Having to do this all over again, your children are familiar with ways of staying connected with their peers, however, it is understandable that this time round they are potentially feeling less motivated to do so. A key skill learnt in childhood is relationship-building, and due to this it is important for parents to reiterate that being social during lockdown is in their child’s best interest. Children playing together results in them learning from and with each other. It contributes to a child’s learning and assists with the development of several skills including sharing, respecting each other, having empathy, as well as collaboration and negotiation skills.
Unquestionably, parents should aim to work with their children to preserve and grow their friendships even during lockdown. Yet understandably, it is hard to know what the right move is to help your children’s friendships prosper during these challenging times.
Are your children tired of regular zoom chats? Why not plan an activity or game over a video call instead. To help, we’ve gathered a few ideas that may guide how you can support your children’s peer interactions during lockdown 2.0.
Virtual teamwork games
- Help them organise a virtual activity that focuses on teamwork
- Virtual teamwork games can create a sense of belonging for your children even if they are physically apart from their friends
- Find an online puzzle that your children and their friends can build together
- Connect them with their peers using PlayStation, Nintendo or Xbox where they can play multiplayer games simultaneously
Organise a Weekly Game Night
- Assist your children with setting up quizzes and trivia games where a different friend forms a round of questions each week
- Suggest other games they can play through video calling including Pictionary, hangman or even a virtual karaoke
Go Retro and Try Finding Ways to Connect Offline
- Find some paper and envelopes to provide your children with materials to write handwritten notes to send to each other
- Help them plan activities they can do with their friends after restrictions
- Suggest that perhaps journaling about their friends will help foster their connections, they can do this by writing down what they miss about them or by drawing pictures of them
- Organise playdates where each child completes an activity offline yet doing it simultaneously with their friends via video call
- Draw or paint together
- Bake the same dessert
- Organise scavenger hunts, where each friend must find and tick off simple household items
- Help your child set up their bedroom or the living room like they were having a sleepover
- Grab out the sleeping bags, pillows and fairy lights
- You could even help them create a fort using couches and sheets
- Set up a movie they can watch “together” using Netflix Party
- The whole family can join in on this one to make it an even bigger sleepover!
Short and Sweet Messages Go a Long Way
- Sometimes even a short message is all you need to show someone you are thinking about them
- Help your child create a short email or text to show their friends that they care
- A simple message such as keep safe or wish them well is all you need