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Explaining Social Distancing to Kids

Published on Apr. 03, 2020

Social distance for kids Munson Healthcare

Social distancing. It’s the new buzz phrase and one of the key tings we should all be doing to help stop the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19). It’s hard enough for adults to truly understand social distancing and why it’s so important, so how do you go about explaining it to kids who keep asking why they can’t visit grandma or play with their best friends anymore? Here are few resources to help explain social distancing to kids (and yes, they’re good for adults, too).

For very young children who may not understand the concept of viruses and germs, this video from Sesame Street’s Grover is a great way to show them the “good” and “bad” of being far away and too close up to someone. 

This video, from Kiwi Co, which makes science, engineering and art activity boxes for kids, explains what a virus is and how it can spread in an easy-to-understand way framed in the context of protecting your community. 


Tell stories to younger kids

One of the best ways for kids to understand a variety of topics is through stories. A fledgling author named Kim St. Lawrence, created a story video of a children’s book about social distancing called “Time to Come In, Bear,” and shared it on YouTube for families to access for free. 

The 90-second story follows a bunny who has to explain to a bear why they have to stay inside and is a good starting point for a conversation with kids.

One mom found a great analogy to explain social distancing and why we are doing it to her kids, and her post has gone viral. The analogy is how everyone works together and pulls over for an ambulance or fire truck when there is an emergency. 

"It honestly strikes me every time I see it. We collectively work together to help someone we don’t know and most likely ever will. I think it’s a beautiful thing," Courtney Hart told "Good Morning America."  

“When we see an ambulance, we are not afraid. We are simply moving out of the way and stopping to make space for people who need help quickly to get it. We will all work together, pull over, and stop, which I think is a beautiful thing."


Resources for older kids

More mature kids may understand flattening the curve and there are plenty of resources out there to help. A video made by Lifebridge Health in Maryland explains what flattening the curve and raising the line both mean in a way that is understandable and impactful. 

 


More Tips 

Whether or not your kids fully understand social distancing, keep emphasizing what they can do to keep themselves and their family healthy and the things they can do that under their control.

  • Remind them to continue hand washing and why that is so important.
  • Use technology to help your kids connect with their friends and family members. Set up some regular FaceTime or Skype play dates.
  • Give your kids plenty of opportunities for fresh air and exercise. Taking a walk or a hike or riding bikes are great ways to get out and get active without having physical contact.