How to Explain Social Distancing and The New Normal to Kids

The new normal can be hard to navigate and even harder to explain, especially to young kids. Our lives as we know it have changed and as we have had to adjust so have our children. With so many changes occurring all at once, it is important that kids have an understanding of what’s going on.

Here are some helpful tips to help you explain social distancing and the new normal to kids.

Acknowledge That There Is a Change

Kids wonder about a lot of things and their life is one of them. Believe it or not parents are not the only one’s thinking about kid’s lives, kids are as well. Of course not in the exact same way but a child learns so much about life and develops based on their environment and how they live.

There are so many new changes happening in kids live’s now. From virtual learning and being at home more often to not being able to play with friends and having to wear a mask, social distance, etc., these changes have already impacted kids’ lives and there are more changes to come. All of this can be very difficult for a child to process. A lot of these changes can be hard to explain to the younger ones but an explanation is very necessary. 

An age-appropriate explanation about why these changes have occurred and what it means for a child’s daily life can help inquisitive kids adapt smoothly to this new way of living.  Like with any new event or situation, simply demanding new behavior without explaining why change is necessary is not conducive to a child’s growth. Acting like everything is the same as normal and not acknowledging or teaching your child about the changes going on can actually cause stress for both of you.

Stay Away From Fear, Focus on Safety

Now that you know you should be open with your child about changes in their lives, don’t forget that the tone in which you explain things can have a big impact on how they process the message. Focus on the benefits of these changes and how they will help you and your child in the long run rather than negative feelings that can build fear or anxiety.  Talking about the current state of the world due to COVID-19 shouldn’t be painted as a fantasy like talking about Santa Claus but it shouldn’t be illustrated as a death sentence either. 

Now we all know the death rates from COVID-19 are steadily climbing but telling that to a child may not be the best thing to do. You want to explain things in a way that gives a child peace and understanding.

For example instead of saying:

“We have to wear masks so that we don’t die.”

Try saying:

“There is a bad germ going around making people sick. We have to wear masks, wash our hands and use hand sanitizer so that we don’t get sick. Staying inside helps a lot. We can find some fun things to do together.”

The first statement can frighten a child while the second statement informs a child of what is going on, what you need to do and how it helps. This can help bring clarity to your child’s mind and also motivate them to stay safe as well. Ultimately you want to stay away from fear and focus on safety. 

Find Fun Things Kids Can Do At Home

One of the hardest parts of social distancing and the new normal for everyone is staying home most of the time. If it’s hard for even the most introverted adults, imagine how hard it is for kids! Parents, you need to get creative and keep your kid’s world entertaining and keep them learning even while indoors.

There are so many ways to engage a child’s mind outside of TV and computer screens. It’s been reported that the increase in screen time due to COVID -19 could even be harmful for children’s eyesight (The Conversation). This is why our Fabulous Storyteller by Lunii is a great device to keep kids entertained while learning at home. Kids can listen to a variety of stories and even boost their language skills all from the comfort of their own home.

Another activity  kids can do at home, that will actually help you out too, is to help with meals. Having your kids doing something hands-on is a great way to keep them from being bored. They can mix the pancake batter for breakfast or even beat the eggs. We recommend hands-on activities to keep the kid’s interacting with the world around them in a new way.

If you have a backyard there is no excuse for your child to be bored:set up a picnic, have a portable pool party, do a treasure hunt, maybe have them learn from home outside on the patio. You can also incorporate a light at-home workout, daily walk with a mask, or meditation to keep your child active and at peace.

Try introducing them to one of these options for at-home fun so that they don’t feel limited by being at home.

Be Safe

At the end of the day the goal is to be safe during these trying times. With so many changes going on, children deserve an explanation and like you they also need options to keep them engaged while at home. Turn this time at home into a time where you truly bond with your child, get to know them, and allow the new normal to build their interpersonal skills.

For the littlest listeners looking for something that’s pure fun, check out The Fabulous Adventures of Suzanne and Ben, free for all My Fabulous Storyteller listeners! 

And if you’re looking for something soothing, try My Little Meditations, sure to help the whole family feel calm and relaxed. Looking for some outdoor fun, even when you can’t get out yourself? How about some animal stories from In The Woods.