12 tips to help kids cope with social distancing

Family FaceTiming

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, social distancing does not have to mean social isolation. Extended isolation could lead to depressed mood among children and even more anxiety about returning to school once remote learning is over.

Ashley Shaw, clinical director of the Mental Health Interventions and Technology (MINT) Anxiety Program at FIU’s Center for Children and Families, offers tips to encourage your child to connect with others, to facilitate resilience in facing this uncertain period.

  1. Take a daily walk with your child or as a family.
  2. If you have access to a yard, play outside. Throw a ball around or play Frisbee.
  3. Sing along or dance to favorite music. Maybe even a little karaoke.
  4. Start a new tradition like a family game night.
  5. Go for a drive. The more scenic the better.
  6. Encourage your child to take part in video chats (e.g., via FaceTime) with extended family including cousins and grandparents.
  7. Help your child set up a group video chat (e.g., via Google Hangouts or the House Party app) with their closest friends.
  8. Encourage your child to call friends who they may usually only text.
  9. If they are already an avid video game player, encourage them to at least connect with a friend to play the same game via headset.
  10. Many games (e.g., Settlers of Catan) have online versions. Help your child set up a virtual game night with their closest friends.
  11. Many exercise studios are now streaming virtual exercise classes (e.g., Exhale, Yoga with Adriene). Figure out an exercise that you and your child like and do it together.
  12. With schools moving to remote learning, encourage your child to actively participate in class at least once per class or per day (e.g., by sending a question to the chat stream).

Families can obtain additional information and resources on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. If you think your child may be experiencing symptoms that are interfering with daily functioning, contact the FIU Center for Children and Families at 305-348-0477 to seek help.