We’re going on day 40 of self isolation during this pandemic. The weather is beautiful right now, but that doesn’t replace recess and playdates and playground meet ups when you’re a kid. In an effort to try to bring some normalcy to this uncertain time, we decided to try a “pandemic playdate.”
What is a Pandemic Playdate?
During normal times, a playdate would involve friends meeting up somewhere, playing, snacking, and being silly. Social distancing doesn’t allow for getting together or sharing snacks… However, there are options to have a “playdate” even when nobody can leave home.
The easiest way to have multiple kids see each other without being together is to schedule a video meeting. Hosting a Zoom meeting with little kids can be any combination of awkward silence to absolute laughing chaos. Choosing a theme that interests the kids is the first step to having a successful party.
Dress Up Party Theme
A few weeks ago, my daughter’s Girl Scout troop had a special Zoom meeting with the theme of a virtual dress up party. The girls were invited to wear whatever made them happy – a princess or superhero costume, pajamas, mix-and-match clothes, and so on.
After the girls showed each other what fancy combination they created, it turned into a show-and-tell party. Some of the girls shared birthday gifts they recently received, others shared their most precious collections of seashells or gems. One of the girls even belted out a song she wrote while playing the guitar!
So, how do you host a Pandemic Playdate?
- Ask your child what they wish they could do with their friends. Maybe it’s a dress up party. Maybe they’d like an “unwrapping” party where everyone brings something and describes it like they do on Youtube. Maybe they want to take turns sharing jokes or spend time creating art together.
- Create your “guest list.” Zoom can get a little overwhelming with a lot of people. Depending on your child’s age, consider inviting between 5-10 kids.
- Create a Zoom meeting. Send the Zoom meeting link and password to your guests’ parents. Tell them the theme and what they should bring. Remember, we’re all at home right now…and not everyone has the supplies for a volcano building party.
- Remind the families on the day of the meeting. With so many things going on right now, it’s easy to forget to log on for a meeting. Everyone appreciates a reminder.
- Talk about video conference etiquette with your child. Make sure everyone is able to get logged in and knows how to mute/unmute themselves and share/hide their video. Remind people they can choose “gallery view” to see everyone at once.
- Depending on the theme and the age of your kids, you may need to help the “pandemic playdate” party get rolling. With the Girl Scouts, we found once a few girls had their turn to share, everyone was used to watching and listening until it was their turn.
- Always leave time for silliness. The whole point of the Zoom party is for your kiddo to see their friends and have fun!
As a parent, the absolute highlight of a “pandemic party” is hearing all the laughter and happiness.
What are you doing to help your kids stay social during social distancing?