As schools are out and families are stuck in, it’s creating a lot of change in routine and isolation. One idea for maintaining relational connection and consistency for our kids? Consider doing a facetime playdate! For many working professionals, a “virtual coffee” is a well-established way to connect with colleagues in other offices – to maintain connection though you can’t be together. Let’s try these for our kids!
Consider adding to your routine a rotation of Facetime or Zoom playdates. Get creative and share with us some ideas of how to structure these. A few initial ideas:
Start by keeping them short. Maybe only commit to a 15 minute playdate and if kids are doing well, do a longer one next time. Depending on the age of the kids, they can get rowdy quickly. Silly is fun and ok, but we’re also trying to create a new norm that facilitates an actual conversation or activity together.
Consider incorporating an activity that can be done over a screen. Some ideas include playing Battleship (if both kids have a set, they can build their boards remotely and still play fully), doing a Mad Lib – one kid picks the words and the other writes them down and reads aloud the story, or having a joke contest.
Start small. While we could envision ultimately having group playdates or games this way, we suggest that you start by doing individual 1:1 playdates as you experiment and learn the ropes of how to do these well. But we are excited about group events – imagine a virtual class talent show?!
We know parents also need a break on these long days. Like many things, it might take a while to build these muscles. While it will likely take more active parental engagement as our kids learn Facetime etiquette, over time, it could be a great activity to have them do in the room while you are also working.