I don’t think I have to convince any of you that 2020 has been a VERY trying year. Every year, every day even, we all have our own set of challenges to deal with but pile a pandemic on top of that and it is truly enough to make you question your ability to stay sane. For those of us who have children, it can seem like an even crazier time. Never in
the history of the United States have kids had to have virtual graduations or socially distanced, end of school celebrations. Depending on their age, this can be a very confusing and scary time for them.

I personally have faced challenges this year that I never saw coming. My family, as well as my friend groups, have suffered devastating losses on top of everything else happening, and trying to keep a sense of normalcy for my 11-year-old son has been one of my main goals.  One of the ways I try to do that is to make sure he maintains connections with his friends. I don’t know if you remember this or not, but a little over a year ago, I made a blog post about how community is one of the contributing factors to defeating depression. This is very applicable to kids as well. Making sure your child has a supportive friend group could make a world of difference in their physical and mental health. Therefore, I thought I’d share some ideas with you on how to make sure your children maintain healthy, safe connections with their friends from the neighborhood, school, etc.

Host socially distanced playdates – Sounds crazy, but this reflects the world we currently live in. I know this sounds impossible, trying to keep younger kids apart but on some level it’s possible. If you have friends with kids who your kids are also friends with, schedule playdates in the park or at your homes. It doesn’t have to be a group of kids, it can be one or two. Even social interaction with a small group can make a difference for them. We were made for connection.

Bring the kids together online – Everyone is Zooming, Skyping, Face Timing, whatever popular app that’s being made available for telecommunication, the world is using it. Why not make sure your kids are able to keep in touch with their friends as well? This is good for all age groups, from the small kids to the bigger ones. Although, I’m quite sure the older kids have a good grip on keeping in touch with their friends via apps and social media.

Help them make care packages for delivery – Here’s a fun and thoughtful thing to do: Help your kids create little care packages they can drop off at their friends’ homes. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. It can be something as simple as a goodie bag of their favorite snacks. It’s just a nice, little gesture that lets them know their friends are still thinking about them.

Overall, a good group of friends is better than any amount of money in the bank! They’re priceless and can really have a positive impact on your children’s mental health during times of crisis. So go ahead, help your kids stay connected with their good friends, and while you’re at it, connect with yours too!