5 ways to help kids feel connected at home
Lockdown is only just beginning to ease and tiny steps are being taken to reconnect physically with extended family and friends. But, for many children, due to health, distance and personal circumstances, real life connection is still not possible.
So how do we help kids feel connected when they are at home?
There is something so lovely about receiving a letter. It can be read again and again and it is such a wonderful surprise when it drops through the door. Do encourage relatives and family friends to keep in touch with your child this way. Do also encourage your child to write back, enclosing drawings and jokes and really thinking about the other person as they write. This has the added bonus of helping them practice their handwriting skills!
Whilst texting is ever popular, it can never replace the actual sound of someone’s voice.
It can bring great comfort to a child to hear their grandparent say they love them, or share a joke with a friend and actually hear them laugh. We all feel closer after a phone call, so do encourage your child to speak on the phone often to the people they miss.
If they are uncomfortable with this at first, you could join in to and have a three-way conversation using speaker phone.
Making a regular time for phone calls ensures the other person will answer and gives children something to look forward to, and they will soon become comfortable chatting on the phone.
A lovely and informal way of keeping connected is to have quizzes thorough Zoom, House Party or WhatsApp with family or friends. This is a great way to meet up without pressure of conversation, which some kids would find awkward. Having fun together is a wonderful way to feel connected.
Quizzes can be found online or you could make your own up.
If quizzing isn’t something your child enjoys you could also have a group game of bingo, a talent show, or perhaps a group singalong?
Photos & Stories (ideas for a younger child)
Younger children might not find it so easy to talk much on the phone or join in quizzes or letter writing (though just sending a scribble through the post will warm a relative’s heart).
You could, however, help them stay feeling connected to the outside world by looking at photos with them and talking about the people dear to them who they haven’t seen for a while. You could share memories with them as you do so, to help them feel closer.
It might also help to have a grandparent read a bedtime story over WhatsApp or sing a little nursery rhyme to help with these feelings of connection in these strange times.
A bit of 1:1 time is important every now and again and playing a game over the internet or a shared app or gaming console is an entertain way of doing this. It can be a lovely way for your child to spend some quality time with their friends or relatives. From simple board games to chess, FIFA and Scrabble there are lots of options for a one on one game. Just give it a google.
The benefits of connection
It is important children feel connected to the outside world and the people they care about. It will help the world feel safer as lockdown down eases and will make them feel loved and less anxious.
Maintaining connections will also distract and entertain kids as they maintain social distancing and reduce feelings of frustration.
Keeping in touch will lessen feelings of isolation for everyone concerned and make them feel happier.