Blog

April 28, 2020

Kids Crave Social Contact. Here’s How to Help Them Understand Distancing. 

Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP

Kids are impulsive. Ask a group of kids to sit together on a sofa and chances are they will pile up within inches of each other instead of spreading out. Walk through the house and they are most likely on your heels. Wait in a line and they will probably cozy up to the person in front of you. Social distancing is hard for everyone, but for kids, it can be nearly impossible. Here are five tips to help them understand the do’s and don’ts. 
 

  1. Be patient. Social distancing isn’t human nature, and we’re all adjusting. 
  2. Help them visualize 6 feet. Six inches probably seems like a good distance when you’re small. Measure out 6 feet and show them just how far they need to be. 
  3. Get into the science of clean hands. Most kids wash their hands because we tell them to, but they don’t understand how germs spread and why touching their face can be dangerous. 
  4. Find new ways to connect. Physical distance is hard, but technology can help close the gap.
  5. Spark empathy. Teaching kids that social distancing is really an act of kindness to protect grandparents, neighbors and people with health problems will help them feel involved in something bigger than themselves. 

Practically overnight, we’ve asked kids to change how they interact with others, and that’s hard. Work with your child to understand why they are distancing, and find ways to fill the void with alternatives that make them feel safe, secure and loved.