Helping your Teen with Social Distancing
Helping your teen or tween with social distancing is very important during these times. Social distancing has become the new normal. It’s important for all of us to stay home as much as possible, and to keep at least 6 feet away from others when we do go out, whether to do necessary grocery shopping or to get some much-needed fresh air and exercise. While it is important for the country and for our communities that we practice social distancing diligently, this can be tough on social middle grade and high school tweens and teens. As kids enter their teenage years, their worlds become more and more social, especially at school where they form different social relationships with their peers, which can be hard for them to handle in isolation.
Talk to Teens
It’s important that parents have open conversations about the virus and about social distancing. It may seem like a country-wide punishment of sorts, but staying home is the best way to make sure people stay safe. It is also important that parents dispel any misinformation about COVID-19 being an “old person’s disease”, which may make them feel like the rules don’t apply to them or that they don’t need to be included in precautionary measures. Make sure that your kids stay informed and up to date with the news without scaring them too much, though instilling just how serious the situation is can help them better understand our circumstances right now as well as their place in it.
Try to Maintain Structure
This is just as important for parents who are now either working from home or find themselves out of a job. Having some sort of daily structure can help the whole family stay sane, and it can especially help tweens and teens stay on top of any remote school work they have as well. If you are working from home or doing any other kind of work, try scheduling a family work time during the day to keep everyone on-task. You don’t have to keep the same hours as work or school, but find a rhythm that works for you and your family.
Spend Quality Time Together
Quality time is a one of the benefits of helping your teen with social distancing. With the whole family at home, spending time together can help you all grow closer, learn new things, and keep you all from getting too bored. There are plenty of things the family can do together, whether it is binge watching a new show, getting some exercise, reading together, or playing board games. There are plenty of ways parents can incorporate learning into family activities as well, such as teaching the kids to cook a family-favorite meal or teaming up to craft a dessert from scratch.
Relax on Screen Time Limits
In order to cope with the loneliness your kids may be experiencing in being away from their friends, it would actually help to be a little more lenient when it comes to time spent on their mobile device or using social media. We are lucky that we live in a time where connecting with others is as easy as it is, and it is certainly making sheltering in place much more bearable and overall less lonely. In addition to relaxing on your childrens’ screen time limits, also consider scheduling family video chats with aunts, uncles, cousins, family friends and others as well.