We know how important it is to socialise, as adults and no less for children. A developmental essential as our kids grow up, they cultivate a healthy mindset and life skills when interacting with other children as well as adults.
Why is socialising important to kids?
- Socialising from an early age can help manage separation anxiety that arises when a child starts nursery or school.
- Making new friends and being part of a social group can help boost a child’s confidence.
- Children with siblings have the advantage of socialising at home, as they learn to get along with their brothers and sisters. However, if an only child has been used to being the centre of attention and having everything for him/herself, they need to learn to share and take turns when playing with others.
- As they get exposed to conflict, and in turn manage their own emotions as well as those of others, this helps them learn manners and cultivate problem-solving skills.
- The beautiful thing about being in a culturally diverse country is that our children get to socialise with others from different cultures and races. This helps them become more socially accepting of everyone.
So we know that going to school and having playdates are important social activities for kids. However, these may not be the most accessible or possible engagements during Covid-19’s circuit breaker, which may see social distancing measures taking time to be lifted.
While adults are generally accepting this (hopefully short term) social distancing, parents may find it a challenge managing our kids’ expectations of norm. We may even know of friends or relatives who are still allowing their kids to play with the neighbours’ (gasp!), within self-assumed safe boundaries on the same floor or at the common corridor.
The risk of person-to-person transmission does not apply to merely the children from different households playing together. They can also expose parents, grandparents and other caregivers to the same risk.
For parents who are currently finding it a challenge, or to help your friends and relatives, here are some tips we find useful.
Routine is (still) important
The adults may need to work from home for now, and finding it convenient to stay in their PJs the whole day. But we can and should still set expectations and routine at home. If our kids are not already engaged in home-based learning, establish a daily schedule for them. Have a timetable for school work, reading, games, exercise, naps and meals. At the same time, this helps parents to better manage working from home and giving attention to the kids.
Related reading: Getting Your Kids to Enjoy Playing Independently
Stay connected… virtually
Just like the parents working from home aren’t getting any less meetings and discussions (only virtually), don’t be surprised at how adaptable and digitally savvy kids are. With the variety of video chat platforms (cute effects included!) available now, your kids can still “see” their classmates, cousins and grandparents, while maintaining more than a safe distance. Up the game with group gaming, group movie watching and virtual parties! Just make sure there is appropriate parental guidance and avoid excessive screen-time.
Don’t forget offline time
There are plenty of activities the family can do together at home, without involving a smart device. Accompany your kids when they are drawing, doing crafts or working on a puzzle. Get your hands on wholesome board and card games, suitable for the whole family.
Stay active indoors
With so many free online resources, there must be some simple and fun workouts that your kids can do, either on their own or accompanied by parents. ActiveSG has a dedicated section just for this on their website – check it out here.
There is really no need to compromise socialising even at such times. All it takes are some creativity and self-discipline.