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How to help your child make friends in quarantine

By Mansi Jain,

Children need to maintain peer contact during the pandemic for overall development.

Help children keep in touch with their friends and make new ones.

It is a well-known fact that friendships are important for children’s emotional and social development. There is no better way for them to engage in creative play than with their peers. However, the lockdown and social distancing norms imposed by the pandemic have come in the way of their friendships and emotional growth. While the older kids and teens are adept at using technology to stay connected to their peers, it becomes a little challenging for younger children who are yet to get used to online communication. Here’s what you can do to help them keep in touch with their friends and make new ones. 

Take your kids for online playdates 
A lot of the times, children would be happier to even just chat with their friends than play alone at home. Consider arranging virtual playdates for them. All you need is a webcam- enabled device and a good internet connection. You can plan little activities for your child and his friends which they can do together. Drawing can be a good option. 

Arrange movie streaming parties 
OTT platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime have features that allow two devices to tune into the same stream with a link. You may have to download a browser extension for Netflix. Other software like Zoom can also facilitate this. While the children watch the movie, you can connect them through video call on the side. They can also make use of the chat window on the side available with these features. 

Motivate them to indulge in multi-player online games  
Video games can be a big contributor in giving your child the opportunity to socialise with his friends. A lot of games that can be played on the internet have a multi-player option where your child’s friends can log into the same game room and play together. They enable the players to chat in real time be it through chat features or audio calling options within the game. However, make sure that you watch out your kid as he plays to prevent them from accidentally connecting to strangers. Additionally, you need to check the content of the game for age-appropriateness. 

Introduce your child to letter writing  
This pandemic has provided the perfect opportunity for bringing back the art of letter writing. The interaction that children are missing out on can be made for through exciting new activities like old-fashioned pen pals. Encourage your children to put those letter writing exercises from English class to good use or even send paintings and home-made crafts to their friends in the form of physical mail. 

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