CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Families going back to school virtually have a lot of new challenges. You may be wondering how your kids will learn important social skills while all at home.
Typically socialization happens as friendships form in the classroom, but how does that happen virtually?
Five-year-old Cody Best hasn’t seen friends in person for months.
He has a new baby sister, and the Best family has already noticed differences between the kids due to a lack of socialization.
“It is taking that toll you can definitely see that difference of one kid who has gotten to socialize his whole life and then My daughter who’s gone in she’s so lucky and grateful have such a good big brother, but,” said Jessica Best, Cody’s mom.
They’re not the only family concerned.
Diana Henderson wants to make sure her kids thrive this school year.
“From a social perspective, and even from a mental health perspective, we’re definitely going to have to come up with some ways to keep our children stimulated socially so that they’re not, you know, they’re not running on empty there,” said Henderson.
Child psychologist Lisa Long says socialization is a major part of children’s development.
“They gain so much through experiences and play with each other that it is critical to their health,” said Long.
Long is a mom herself, dealing with new virtual learning options in her family. She says you can harness the specific at-home situation to create new socialization options.
“There are so many learning opportunities in the environment naturally to take advantage of, kids shouldn’t be sitting in front of the screen all day. They should be out exploring, going to meet postal workers, so they can flourish,” said Long.
Long says also helps to set safe play-dates in outdoor settings to let kids socialize together.
For families like the Henderson’s, they are looking for those new opportunities but with both parents working full-time, are bracing for the time and financial expense of making up for what school used to provide for free.
“It now comes at a cost, some sort of childcare, whether families are hiring nannies or hiring teachers, or having to seek out day camps or alternative solutions so that their children have care or even exiting the workforce,” said Henderson.