Two months ago, you could easily have thought the phrase “social distancing” was just another euphemism for “ghosting.” But now it seems social distancing has crept into every aspect of our lives. Due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), children and families are finding themselves in new and unforeseen situations. It’s time for parents to examine the new normal for socializing, without alarming kids in the process.

Teaching About Social Distancing

If adults are having a hard enough time dealing with the new normal and isolation, imagine what their children must be feeling. Proper parenting includes providing a sense of closeness to your children, as well as affection. Now, that’s all been thrown on its head. Children probably don’t fully understand why they are not allowed to be with friends or at school, which is why it’s crucial to explain the importance of social distancing.

Talk to your kids about how social distancing means staying away from others until the risk of contracting COVID-19 is under control. For older children, showing the “flatten the curve” charts may help them grasp the significance of social distancing. Explain that while we don’t know how long it will take to reduce the number of those infected, we do know that this is a critical time and that we must follow the guidelines of health experts to do our part.

“Distance is just a test to see how far love can travel.”

With younger children, however, some experts say to avoid giving them too many details about the science behind social distancing. Dr. Melissa Brown of the University of Pittsburg’s Medical Center said to keep the message simple and positive. “Kids don’t need to know all of those details,” Dr Brown said. “(Just say) we’re not having play dates because we want to keep our germs to ourselves and not share them and we’re just trying to keep everybody else healthy.”