The UK has followed suit, schools and nurseries are closed unless parents are key workers. Our 4 yo has gone from being in two nurseries three full days a week, attending a martial arts class on Saturdays and tennis on Sundays, as well as two play dates a week, to zero face to face contact with his friends.
Older kids and adults can understand what’s happening to the world. They are also more independent and can manage their social life as they like through phone and digital. A pre-schooler can’t.
Here are five ideas currently working for us:
ONE: PHONE A FRIEND
As I continue working from home, I make sure to break up for lunch and spend a little time with the family. Good window to pick up the phone and video call a nursery friend. A little opportunity for the kids to check in, speak about their day and connect.
TWO: RALLY THE PARENTS
When Littlen started in the pre-school room at nursery, one of the mum’s set up a what’s up group. For all parents, mostly mums in contact. It’s been great for play and park dates, occasional trips to kids show at the theater, sharing goings on in Brighton and a monthly mum pub night.
Now, with the virus, it’s been a great source of support. None of us are going through this alone. We’re all facing the same problems and uncertainties. Tap into that and support each other.
These days in addition to mum chat, our group features video messages from the kids to each other, pictures of home activities and birthday invites. The kids are loving it! The mums too 😉
THREE: THROW THAT BIRTHDAY PARTY
Yes, we’re social distancing. Yes we’re not going anywhere. Doesn’t mean you can’t take the party online. A video call, will all the kids for a little song and chat.
Littlen’s friend had a first such party on Friday. Granted there wasn’t a clear discussion as such, mostly kids looking at each other, shouting out messages or going shy. But it was good! It was good to mark the occasion for the birthday kid. It was good for all to see each other. It brought a little normal into out day ❤
FOUR: channel you inner artist – Rainbow treasure hunt
Get those crayons out and let littlen prepare a piece to show their friends. At the moment we’re all making, painting or drawing rainbows. Maybe add a little message and stick if to the window so it can be seen from the road. (granted our neighbour very kindly let us use his window as we’re not facing the road).
Connect with the parents from your nursery group or local friends. In our group I’ve set up a little google map with all of our home. Now parents and littlen’s when walking round the block for a little exercise, they can hunt for their friends art pieces.
Sharing paintings or finding them will bring a little joy!
FIVE: GO OLD SCHOOL – GET A WALKIE TALKIE
One of Littlen’s friends lives two houses along. We can see him in the garden, from our lounge window. Other than excitedly waving at each other, it’s too far to be heard.
I’ve got us a set of talkies from Amazon. Comes with a 3km range. Gives the kids a little independence, rather than a timed call on mum’s/dad’s mobile. Also a little play and a way to communicate as kids.
We went for a set with great reviews and 3km range but are yet to make it work properly at a distance. They work fine if both inside the flat or when we dropped one off outside of mate’s house. Will work on this as if we can make it work, we can get more for the kids living nearby nursery. Which would be really cool, though prepare for it be to loud 😉