Help Kids Maintain Friendships During COVID-19

Louisiana kids are dealing with the anxiety of high coronavirus rates, the chaos of disrupted routines, and the loneliness of social distancing.

Suddenly, parents are serving as their kids’ teachers and playmates in addition to performing their regular parenting responsibilities, full-time jobs, and home maintenance duties.

The whole family is having to act creatively and be flexible right now. As an overextended parent, you may be wondering how to help your child cope.

In this post, we’ve come up with some ways to keep your kids connected to family and friends while we’re all staying home. Help protect yourself, your family, and your fellow Louisianans with these ideas:

Connect Over Wifi

Your child’s dance, martial arts, or art teacher may be offering their usual after-school class over Zoom.

Virtual Playdates

Schedule virtual playdates over Skype and Facetime. Kids can chat as themselves or, if you want to keep their pretend-game strong, make the playdate for your child’s favorite doll or stuffed animal and their bestie’s favorite doll or stuffed animal. Either way, it’s important for your kids to actually see their friends, even if they can’t touch them.

Facetime Storytime

Facetime is a great way to have storytime with the grandparents.

Plan a Talent Show

Set up a virtual talent show, and invite your child’s friends to participate. “Talent” can be anything from tap-dancing to singing, to reading a poem, to showing off tricks they taught the family dog.

Virtual Game Night

Host a virtual game night. Free apps such as Pogo, Houseparty, and let kids play online games with friends. See these tips on which Houseparty games to try.

Multiplayer Games

Xbox Live and Nintendo Online allow subscribers to play against each other remotely.

Netflix Party

Binge watch with your besties! The free Chrome extension, Netflix Party, allows anyone with a Netflix subscription to sync their viewing and pause the video to chat. Read this guide to setting it up.

Connect the Old Fashioned Way

Tie Up the Phone Line

Remember good, old-fashioned phone chats? That’s how teens and preteens used to connect with their friends.

Mail a Letter

If your child mentions missing a particular person, ask them to write their loved-one a letter, find an interesting stamp, and drop it off at the mailbox. They’ll learn about how to address an envelope and look forward to receiving a response.

Deliver a Care Package

Leave gifts for friends on their porches. Baked goods, notes, and favorite books are safe options, particularly if these items stay outside for a day before coming in.

Make Sidewalk Greetings

Leave messages or drawings in front of friends’ houses using sidewalk chalk. This is also a great way to thank postal workers, delivery workers, and trash collectors.

Take a Social Distance Walk

Schedule walks with neighborhood friends, and make a game of remaining on opposite sides of the street. You can still wave and interact throughout the walk, as long as you stay on your side of the street.

Need More Inspiration?

Read about how a few community members made a birthday memorable for one New Orleans child—or how Mandeville neighbors made a birthday special for an autistic man.