Lockdown is dragging on and kids arehome all day; the prospect of little ones being reunited with their friends feels increasingly distant. Don’t despair – there are still ways you can help your children stay connected. Thanks to the magic of modern technology, it’s easier than you might think to organise a playdate online and give your kids a chance to laugh, play and hang out with their favourite little people.
1. Choose your platform
For 1 on 1 – WhatsApp, FaceTime
Straightforward and easy to use, Apple iPhone and Mac users can rely on FaceTime or their phone or computer, while WhatsApp is available for video calls for both iPhone and Android. All you need is their parents’ contact number for unlimited video calls.
For groups – Zoom
This get a little chaotic – depending on the age of your – child but Zoom is the best platform for a group playdate. Just download the app and send an invite to 2-3 of your little one’s friends. Watch their faces light up as they see and hear each other through the screen
For a bit more fun – Caribu
If you haven’t heard of Caribu, now you have. Perfect for engaging and entertaining little ones, use Caribu to let kids play games, read stories and colour together online. This platform works best on a tablet so that little ones can take control and interact directly with their friends.
2. Play together
Remember – this is a playdate and kids can still play, even over video chat. For an easy ice-breaker, start out small with their favourite soft toys. Even though the children are friends and used to playing together, they could be feeling extra shy and unsure without the natural ease of a face-to-face interaction. Give each child time to introduce their toys and encourage your child to ask their friend questions about their own. If you’re feeling confident and comfortable with a bit of noise, instigate a bit of collaborative play with some music. Try singing a song together, especially with their very own toy drum for some rhythm.
3. Dress up
Help to get your little one excited for their playdate by dressing up. A few days beforehand, agree a theme with your fellow parents or just let your kids choose (this could save a few tantrums on the day). To make dressing up easy, try one of our character robes that can easily be slipped on and off. Whether they feel like a fabulous fairy princess, a brave little lion or an adventurous dinosaur, we’ve got you covered for quick, cute dress-up ideas. Our top tip – make sure to dress yourself up too – this way you can all join in and play together and help all of your little ones to understand that this is still a playdate.
4. Tell stories
The benefits of reading stretch far beyond practical communication skills. Storytelling is a fun and natural way for you and other children to learn about your child’s interests and personality. Do they want to read about animals, big adventures or their favourite cartoon characters? Telling stories and reading books helps children to bond as they share experiences and can talk together about what they’re reading or saying.
We hope that you find these tips helpful and that your little ones enjoy spending some time with their friends – even if it is through a screen. Let us know how you get on by tagging us on social media – we’d love to know how you’re doing!
My 1st Years x