Parenting In a Pandemic Friends Relatives

The COVID-19 pandemic can sometimes feel downright anti-social. Social distancing, wearing masks and avoiding gatherings with people who aren’t vaccinated has been hard for all of us. For families with children younger than age 5, who are not yet able to get a COVID-19 vaccine, it may feel as if this pandemic will never end.

But as more people get vaccinated, the pandemic is brought under control—and, hopefully, a vaccine dose is approved for younger children—life will finally get back to normal for us all. Until then, it's wise to continue taking precautions if you have a child under age 5.

That can be hard for kids, including toddlers, who were used to seeing friends and relatives more regularly. It can be hard for parents who need a break from being with children all day long. And it can be hard for relatives, such as grandparents, unable to see their extended families.

Still, there are ways to stay in touch and connected by phone or electronically with the people we love:

Talk regularly with relatives or close friends by phone or video chat (FaceTime, Zoom, etc.). Check in with grandparents once a week, for example, having your child sit with you when you make the call:

  • During these calls you can read a book, sing a song or play a guessing game together to keep young children engaged. Don’t stress if your toddler only lasts a minute or 2 before wandering off.
  • Set aside call time for you and your relatives and friends, too. You need friendship and support right now. Calling during your child’s nap or bedtime may work best for you.
  • Set a place at the dinner table for your laptop, tablet or smartphone and eat and talk with friends via video chat. Or try cooking up the same recipe while video chatting with each other. Toddlers can help stir or add simple ingredients.
Old School Ways to Safely Stay in Touch

Head out for a walk together (such as you and your child with grandparents or with a friend and his or her child). Wearing masks (for kids ages 2 and up) and remaining 6 feet apart outside means that you can still see each other in person.

Meet up with friends and their kids at a local park. Wear masks (ages 2 and up) and stay 6 feet apart, but don’t let that distancing stop your kids from playing or you from chatting.

Try an artwork exchange with your child’s relatives or playmates. Have your toddler draw or paint on paper, drop it in the mail and have your relatives or friends reciprocate.

Drive by a friend’s or nearby relative’s house. You and your child can talk with the person from the car window—with everyone still 6 feet apart!

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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