Whether you have an only child or a kid that depends on the outside world for peers with their interests, navigating the pandemic can be especially challenging. While the situation is temporary, the lack of school, sports, and group activities may lead your child to boredom, anxiety, and isolation. Here are steps to take if you’re concerned that your child is lonely:
Make time for play
Whether you have to learn to play Minecraft or get through 20 games of Candyland, put in extra playtime with your kids. Toss the ball around, have a tea party, build a fort…don’t be afraid to get silly and have fun in ways you normally wouldn’t. Here are some pretend play ideas for younger children.
Allow more screen time
While you may limit screen time in most circumstances, now may be a time to use technology to your advantage. FaceTime, Zoom, video games, and online hangouts are great ways to help your kids connect with peers. Virtual activities are available for kids of all ages and interests. Search online and find everything from Karaoke parties to Book Clubs to Scavenger Hunts.
Give them solo projects
If you think your child would benefit from learning how to spend time in their own company, then work on that. Help children engage in projects they can enjoy in their own solitude. As an example, making any kind of art helps cope with stress. Even when someone is not talented, artistic expression reduces anxiety. Finding an artistic hobby that allows kids to create will likely bring happiness and calm.
Trust your child will be okay
Kids are resilient, especially if they’re surrounded by supportive adults. A temporary bout of loneliness is normal even without a pandemic, so don’t create a victim mentality. Stay positive, focus, and know your child will likely bounce back.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Remember, most kids feel lonely once in a while, and this hasn’t been an easy time for anyone. Help is here if you need it, so if you want parenting support or feel your child would benefit from counseling, reach out to LifeStance Health. Our therapists are skilled at everything from teaching creative parenting strategies to getting your child to open up. Sessions are available in-person and virtually, so reach out below if you need support.