Parenting & Childcare Blog

Staying Socially Connected while Remaining Physically Distant

6 feet — That is the recommended distance that everyone is asked to stay away from each other because of the Covid-19 pandemic that is sweeping the globe. The United States government has shut down schools, restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, malls, concert venues, and any other events or locations that draw a large number of people.

This is what we have come to call “Social Distancing.” But is that really what we are experiencing?

With the urgent need to “flatten the curve” and slow down the spread of the coronavirus, the idea of “social distancing” is an effective one, but remaining physically distant from one another is what actually needs to happen. A lack of social interaction can lead to physical health risks just as easily as psychological ones. That is why it is more important than ever to find ways to stay socially connected while remaining physically distant.

For many, these circumstances of self-isolation, or physical distancing, are causing a rise in anxiety. This is also true for children in the foster care system who have already faced numerous traumas prior to entering care. Children who come into care at Together for Youth have already experienced disruption, instability and most likely a lack of love or reassurance from an adult that everything is going to be okay. School may have been the only constant in their life, and now, for the time being, that is gone too.

At Together for Youth, we are choosing to practice physical distancing while finding creative ways to stay socially connected. And, because of technology it is easier than ever to stay socially connected with our friends, family and co-workers while staying safe. There are many ways to stay socially connected such as social media, cell phones, FaceTime, video conferencing, text messaging and email.

Below are a few ideas, activities, and self-care exercises that may help both you and your loved ones better cope with feelings of anxiety and uncertainty by staying socially connected.

  • Plan a weekly video chat with friends or family members, especially the elderly. Use simple phone apps like WhatsApp, FaceTime or Skype
  • Spend more time outdoors
  • Go on walks or outdoor adventures
  • Set aside 5 minutes a day in the morning and at night to focus on your breathing and positive thinking. Check out our guided video on our YouTube page
  • For children, stay up-to-date on lesson plans and homework with digital assignments from your teachers
  • Join an online exercise group that meets daily via video chat like Zoom
  • If you have children, have them and their friends get the same book and take turns reading a chapter to each other every night via FaceTime
  • Get creative with video challenges that can be shared on social media
  • Are you working from home? Create a virtual lunch with co-workers or an at home happy hour after the work day
  • Decorate the family vehicle with balloons and positive messages- Drive around the neighborhood encouraging others to join the parade

We are experiencing unprecedented times and are all learning how to navigate together. For the families we serve and children in foster care, our mission stands stronger than ever. We remain dedicated to strengthening our children and families so they can continue to live safely, independently and productively within their home communities. With a bit of creativity and support from one another we can manage physical distancing while still experiencing social connectedness.

Here are some other sources that help to distinguish the difference and importance of staying socially connected while remaining physically distant: The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Distancing, Physical, Not Social Distancing: Staying Connected In The Coronavirus Age; How to Socially Distance and Stay Sane; Corona and the Isolation Paradox; and Staying Happy While Social Distancing.