« Social distancing » is a new concept for all of us, and as hard as it was for adults to adopt, getting children to adhere to this new behavior is super challenging. Here are some tips to help them put it into practice.
A distance of one meter and a half may not be readily understood by children. Here are some simple ways to help them visualize the space they need to maintain between themselves and others.
Play “follow the leader”. Children learn by example, by watching and imitating your behavior. Practice having them follow you while keeping their distance and avoiding certain obstacles in your path. At home, practice “social distancing” by sitting at either ends of the table or the couch to rehearse for the real thing. In the street, have them literally follow in your footsteps, so that keeping their distance becomes a reflex.
Use a Hula Hoop to show them the distance they need to keep from others. Once they’ve tried walking around inside the hula hoop, that space will be easier to imagine in real life.
Alternately, you can use a skipping rope to help them understand the arc of space that it draws around them. If they can imagine jumping down the street without bumping into anyone, they’re doing a good job!
Invent a little dance, where everyone dances with their arms outstretched without touching the other dancers. Help them understand that the same rules apply to walking down the street.
Tell them that, like their favorite super-heroes, we all walk around with an invisible forcefield that cannot be invaded. Have fun pretending to “bump into” each other’s force fields that start one meter away from our bodies.
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