Back to school certainly has a different look and feel this Fall. For some, kids will be returning to a full school schedule with masks at the ready, for others it’s a few days in person, and for many they will be immersed in a fully virtual school day. No matter the format, one thing that rings true across the board is that we need to make sure our kids build upon their social emotional skills.
But how do you keep your kids socializing in a forever changing environment? We’re glad you asked! As cofounder of SO Fun City, where we provide interactive and inclusive programming around the world, we are forever infusing socialization techniques into our events to help kiddos grow. Here are 5 tips to help your little learner stay social this Fall (these may even help you, as parents, to stay connected to your friends too!).
1. Teach your little one a new skill!
We love teaching our SO Magic class because it empowers children to show off their new talents! Find a hobby or skill you can learn with your little one. They can learn a new game, a magic trick, or riddle and then call a friend on zoom to share. This is a great way to motivate your child to call a friend or family member and also provides an opportunity for you to bond with your child as you learn the new skill as a team.
2. Imaginative Role Play
Action! Act out a role play with your child to practice maintaining conversations. A great way to do this is with toys around the house. Have your child pick a stuffed animal for you and for them. Then, act out a conversation with the characters. This fun activity will help your child’s communication skills continue to develop since they may be missing out on in-person interactions. Feel free to use this opportunity to explain to your child why people are wearing masks…you can put a mask on your stuffed animals and act out your scenes as an extra bonus.
3. Go for a walk
Invite a friend to go on a socially distanced walk where you can help your child initiate conversations. Safe in-person face time is very important to your child’s development so make sure to plan outdoor fun if/when possible (and pack plenty of sanitizer just in case).
4. Snail Mail
Yes, Zoom Fatigue is real! It’s important to provide on-screen interaction but we know it’s also crucial to unplug. Sit down with your child and write some letters or draw some pictures for friends that you can pop in the mailbox. You’d be surprised to see how relaxing and fun this process can be with your children. Use this as an opportunity to teach your child communication techniques such as greetings.
5. Virtual After School Classes
Utilize services like Sawyer to find vendors offering after school programs. This is a fantastic way to keep your child engaged with peers. You can also organize your own social groups! Reach out to vendors and ask if they can provide private group programs so you can organize some fun for your child and their friends. We love organizing small friend groups at SO Fun City!