How can I help if my child feels isolated?

Not seeing friends is hard on children and can feel lonely and unsettling. But while they can’t see each other in person right now, there are lots of ways to keep in touch and spend time together.

Two young girls on a hammock looking at a lake

How to stay connected

  • Video calls can be the next best thing to being there. They’re great for shared activities like movie nights and play dates, too.
  • Schedule calls in advance so they have something to look forward to.
  • Organise a big family group chat, and let your child plan the activities.
  • Reach out throughout the day with text messages or social media posts.
  • Offline options make a nice change of pace. Send letters and postcards, or keep a scrapbook to show friends once school starts again.

Things to make or do

There’s lots children can do to nurture friendships until they can see each other again.

  • Play games remotely. You can play online through apps and gaming platforms, or use a board game and take turns by phone or email.
  • Fun detours. Let friends know if you’ll be walking past their house, and arrange to wave or shout hello as you pass by.
  • Fill a jar with ideas for things you’d most like to do (or talk about) when you next see friends.
  • Make video lessons for each other. It could be a PE lesson, or a short explanation of something you’re learning for school.
  • Remember happy memories and share what you miss or enjoy most about friends. Write these down or turn them into an artwork.
  • Choose a few favourite photos of friends or things you’ve done together to print out and keep around the house.

Be there for your child

It’s natural for your child to experience loneliness or sad emotions. You might notice they become withdrawn or clingy, for instance, or that they act out.

  • Make sure they know you’re available if they want to talk. Keep telling and showing how much you love them.
  • Encourage them to share their feelings by talking, drawing, or creating a journal.
  • As much as you can, give your child a predictable routine to help structure their day. Set mealtimes and bedtimes are a good idea, as are regular fun or social activities.
  • Most of all, help them remember that this situation won’t last forever. Look forward to making new memories with friends in the future.
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