Ways to Keep Children Connected to Family & Friends during a Lockdown
In these uncertain times, our children are going to miss the social aspects of school, clubs and extracurricular activities more than anything. With this in mind, we have put together some ideas to keep your kids connected with both family and friends!
Obviously we all need to pick up the phone to our loved ones more than usual at the moment. What better way to cheer up Gran or Great-Gran than a call from the kiddies.
As above but seeing a familiar face will do wonders for a kids wellbeing at this crazy time.
Send Daily Emails
Become virtual “pen pals” with both friends and family by sending emails each day letting them know what you have been up to. This might also be a great relief to a friend’s parent who is running short on ideas to keep them entertained!
Zoom: Video Conferencing, Web Conferencing, Webinars
Zoom is the leader in modern enterprise video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars. You can download the app for free and set a “meeting time” for your child and invite their friends to join them. The free plan allows you to host video conferences of up to 40 minutes and up to 100 participants. This will need to be set up by parents but my daughter is very excited to join her first class “meeting” tomorrow!
My daughter is currently in a match with Grandma on Words with Friends. There is a chat function so they can message whilst their game is ongoing. He is doing this on my phone so I can monitor who he is playing with!
There are also chess games and battleships etc which you can download from the app store. These can also be downloaded to tablets and on some invites can be sent to friends.
The children can compete against their classmates in the online version of Mathletics. Most schools use this software now so it’s likely your child will have a user ID and password. There is no chat function but my kids love knowing they are playing against their friends.
For Older Kids:
Letting your child use social media is a big step for any parent. Take small steps by creating a profile for your child on one of the following:
Yoursphere – a free online social network that is centred around safe and fun rewards-based interactive content and activities for children and young people up to the age of 18. It has features dedicated at guarding youth privacy and safety, such as its approach to verifying identities, requiring parental consent, performing predator checks as well as using technology and human oversight to monitor site activity.
KidzWorld – Kidzworld is a social community and Safe Kids Website where you can express your free-spirited self. Kids chat, play games, create a profile or get help with school work. Read game reviews, movie news, celebrity gossip and more.
These kid-friendly social networks allow you to monitor your child’s online activity and lets them share updates with their friends.
Digital Study Sessions
Help your child and classmates reconnect through their school work. Use Google Hangouts to set up weekly chat sessions where they can discuss their home school schedule.
The likes of Fortnite, Rugby20 or FIFA, when set up with the correct parental controls, offer party functions. If all playing online at the same time the kids can join a party a chat with their friends as they game together.
Check PEGI ratings of any games before allowing kids to play.
Houseparty is a video messaging app that allows you to add your friends and throw “parties” with them, where you’re all in the same video conversation. There you can play games like Quick Draw, Trivia and Heads Up. Users receive a notification when friends are online and available to group video chat.
You can also send “notes”, “Facemail” (a video message to someone not online) and jump into other “houseparties” you see your friends in. AGE 12+, good one for parents!