When the pandemic started in 2020, many thought that online education would be a temporary setup. Unfortunately, the Delta and Omicron variants have forced many schools to remain in the digital sphere. Thousands of school districts in the United States have re-transitioned to remote learning to mitigate the spread of the Omicron variant and accommodate the labor shortages caused by spiking COVID-19 cases.
Many parents worry that extended school closures will have negative effects on their children’s growth. The impact of online education on children’s social development is especially daunting. Without opportunities to connect with their peers, students may feel disengaged and unmotivated to succeed academically. Younger children who don’t get one-on-one interactions may even fail to develop social skills. Remote communication also hinders students from practicing how to read and communicate emotional cues.
To help children develop their social skills during the era of remote learning, parents need to encourage participation in social activities, such as outdoor games, board games, and storytelling. Below, we’ll discuss a few activities that can promote the social development of children.
Outdoor Team Games
Team games like Capture the Flag Redux encourage children to learn how to work with others. When playing a team game, children get to share a goal with their teammates, which can teach them to care about the desires and feelings of people outside themselves. Seeing that goal through allows them to foster a sense of camaraderie, further building their ability to connect with the people around them.
Glow Battle is another outdoor game kids can try. By facing off using harmless glowing swords, your children can hone their competitive sides and build confidence. The game can teach them how to compete with others while staying friendly and respectful.
Playing these team games as a family can help your children build their social skills. If you think they’re ready to meet other kids, you can try to talk to your neighbors and arrange playdates with their children.
Creating a scavenger hunt is another great way to teach your children how to work with others. Like team games, scavenger hunts let children experience what it’s like to share a common goal. As your children work toward finding a prize together, they learn to share ideas, move as a group, and play into each other’s strengths. Not only does this teach children how to cooperate, but it also stimulates their minds and promotes positive decision-making.
Playing board games like Monopoly, The Game of Life, and Clue can do a lot for your child’s development. Mental stimulation board games can help children strengthen their creativity, inquisitiveness, and even brain speed. And because board games encourage children to take turns and communicate verbally, they can teach children how to be comfortable with social interactions. Winning board games can also help children build confidence in themselves, which can give them the self-assurance they ned to overcome shyness
Telling stories can offer some surprising benefits for your child’s development. Stories provide a framework for how social interactions work in real life. A good storytelling session can also stretch your child’s imagination. When they begin to care about the characters they witness in stories, they may use their newfound imagination to put themselves in the shoes of these fictional characters, feeling connected to their successes, failures, and challenges. The practice of immersing themselves in the lives of fictional characters can teach them how to feel empathy for their peers. Reading books and making puppet shows are some ways you can create story-time sessions for your children.
Don’t let the pandemic be a hindrance to your child’s development. Through activities like outdoor games, scavenger hunts, board games, and storytelling, children can learn how to understand, work with, and support their peers.
Written by Emery Peyton for starluxgames.com