How to Stay Sane with Kids and Social Distancing

I have seen some funny memes and comedic commentary about being “quarantined” with kids for weeks now. 

Laughter and humor will help us deal with the varying emotions, like fear and sadness, and with the reality of being at home, as a family, with changes in routine and limited options for socialization. Let’s be honest, if we don’t laugh, we may cry!

We are social creatures by nature. We look to social interactions as entertainment, connection and even for distraction. Teenagers, especially, are having a difficult time keeping their distance from friends. In fact, I am still seeing and hearing about kids still NOT practicing social distancing. This could be why we have not “flattened the curve,” but have witnessed more closings of parks, beaches, businesses, etc. because people are not doing their part fully.

As parents, we need to enforce this social distancing and help our kids understand WHY this is important as well as creative ways we can socialize with friends while keeping at least 6 feet between us.  If we want to get back to our “normal lives” and socialize again, we need to stop the spread of COVID-19.  We can only do this by social distancing, diligent hand washing, sanitizing groceries and items coming into our home from outside and from unknown exposure.  Kids can carry or expose people to COVID-19 just like everyone else.

Here are a few ideas for maintaining social contact and interaction while practicing social distancing:

  1. FaceTime call or regular call friends

Maybe do something fun together; tell jokes or funny stories; do an experiment; cook something.

  1. Issue mini challenges to friends and record yourself doing it

Send to each other or do in a video chat like Zoom or google hang out. Examples: Plank challenge; build the tallest skyscraper using sticks or straw that can hold up a tennis ball for 20 seconds; cook something using 5-6 ingredients; make something fun or useful out of recycling in your home.

  1. Create a book or movie club with a group of friends and read or watch together

  2. Go for a hike- or bike ride just be sure to keep 6 feet apart

  3. Play lacrosse, baseball or tennis wall ball next to each other (6 feet apart)

This is the time to get creative and connect. It is a time for us parents to be present with kids and connect as well.

Another important thing we all need to remember is self-care.  Many of us are in vacation mode, eating or snacking all day while being more sedentary than usual.  I have even heard weight gain during this time being referred to as the “Quarantine 15.” Being sedentary can lower the immune system and increase inflammation in the body. Here are some physical activity guidelines.

Nourishing the mind, body, and spirit is a big part of staying sane in the chaos. Another tip to staying sane is to create some structure, routine, and clear expectations while allowing some choices for more empowerment (particularly with teens). 

Here are my suggestions for family “To Do’s” each day:

(REALITY NOTE: My kids are resisting structure, but screen time is a great bargaining chip.)

  1. Eat Fruit or vegetable with every snack or meal. (Limit sugar and refined carbohydrates)
  2. Drink at least 10-12 glasses of water a day
  3. Move your body every day for at LEAST 30 minutes, but 60 minutes is ideal. You can hike, bike, walk, do a fitness video, do my “Deck Of Cards” workout (each suit is a different exercise, do number on card, face cards = 10), family yoga or noodle tag, jump on the trampoline… just move
  4. Journal or write about your day. This is a time in our lives our grandchildren will interview us about. Let’s put our memories, thought, feelings down on paper to record
  5. Connect with others, either family, friends or your kids. Give them some quality time
  6. Get outside in nature, even for just 5-10 minutes and notice what is going on outside your little inside world
  7. Take frequent breaks and limit screen time. Adults should limit news time. Instead, get creative, play a game, cook, learn something new, color, draw, paint, sing, write a song, play music and dance. Do whatever makes you laugh, smile, and find some joy and light in a time that feels not so bright

We will all get through this together and united.

All we can control are our reaction and our actions, but our actions can impact the world around us. So, rest and reset from the safety of your home. Be present and connected with your inner world so we can begin to tame the chaos of our outer world. It starts with ME, through choices and impacts the WE of our community and world. This is where our control and power lie… within our self. 
For more support and ideas, including my “Boredom Buster” Ides and links, sign up for my FREE 5-part video series, “How to Thrive in the Coronavirus Chaos.” You’re invited to receive the series.
Be well,


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