5 Tips for Keeping Kids Socialized During Virtual Learning
September 24, 2020
Coming into 2020, who knew that virtual learning would become so integrated into our lives? Having the technology and resources in place to provide learning continuity during the pandemic quarantines has been helpful. But many of us are still struggling to reconcile the benefits with some of the consequences of having our children learning in isolation.
“While it’s a great fallback, virtual learning raises some interesting issues for children and parents,” said Dr. Jason Goldstein, Kiddie Academy’s Advisor for Health and Wellness. “It pushes our comfort level with the amount of time kids spend in front of screens. It is important to balance this screen time with age appropriate activities that are screen-free, including: riding bikes or scooters, doing puzzles, taking family walks, and reading books. We will likely be managing the social and emotional consequences of this on-line learning for years to come but in the meantime, it is imperative to be diligent as parents to actively explore safe screen-free alternatives when possible.”
Social development has always been intertwined throughout the entire education experience. Along with learning to read and do math, children learn how to build relationships, work together and resolve conflicts. Being sheltered at home for weeks and months during the pandemic has made it difficult to replace all those interactions with friends, teachers and other adults.
Although all Kiddie Academy locations have returned to in-person learning, many school systems are still on virtual schedules or a hybrid. For those who are currently dealing with virtual learning, or who may have to resort to it in the future, here’s a round-up of useful tips we’ve found to make sure your child gets ample socialization opportunities.
Tips for Socialization
Pictures of friends – Children often point out that friends are what they miss most about not being in class. If you have a class photo or pictures of their friends, put them up around the virtual workspace. Seeing a friendly face or two can go a long way in lifting your child’s spirits.
Play dates – Schedule times for your child to get together with a friend. These play dates can be done virtually if you’re unable to do a socially distanced in-person get-together.
Running errands – If you have errands to run, invite your kid to come with you. It may seem boring, but any opportunity to get out and around other people might be welcome relief after being sequestered at home for long stretches.
Family conversations – Make sure everyone in your home takes time to sit down together and talk each day. Find time at dinner or another regular time when everyone can gather away from their devices and share what’s on their minds. The conversations don’t have to be deep – “What was the best part of your day?” is a great way to get the ball rolling. Try to get everyone involved in the discussion.
Teacher chats – Most teachers we know are doing a great job of keeping in touch with their students while doing remote lessons. If you feel your child could use a little extra personal time with teacher, don’t hesitate to ask. Remember, the teachers miss the kids, too.
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