Making the most of family time during physical distancing

This article was developed by Raising Children Network in collaboration with Meredith Rayner, psychologist.

Physical distancing can give you more opportunities to spend time together as a family. And by spending more time together as a family, you can build relationships and help your children feel happier, safer and more relaxed during this experience.

If you’re working from home, you might not always have a lot of time during work hours. So it’s all about making the most of the time you do have by giving your child positive attention and turning everyday moments into quality time.

sisters-huggingPositive attention
You can give your children plenty of positive attention, even during brief interactions. For example, positive attention can be:

  • making eye contact and smiling at your child
  • showing your child lots of affection – this could be giving cuddles or elbow bumps if you’re comfortable to do this, or saying ‘I love you’
  • telling your child you’re proud of how she’s handling the situation
  • praising your child for doing schoolwork or chores
  • showing interest in what your child has achieved each day.

Quality time
During physical distancing, you can turn everyday moments into quality time. Quality time can be:

  • a shared laugh when you’re bathing your toddler
  • a chat while you’re folding the laundry with your preschooler or preparing dinner with your pre-teen or teenage child
  • an afternoon break from work so you and your child can make a snack together.

If you can, plan some regular one-on-one time with each of your children. Children have different personalities, and some children might seem to need less time than others – but they’ll all benefit from special time with you during physical distancing.

Fun tips for family time during physical distancing
Your family might have to do some things differently during physical distancing, but there are still many things you can do together. Here are some fun ways you can spend time together and build your relationships:

  • Encourage your child to draw a picture for someone, then take a photo and send it to family or friends.
  • Play family games together – you could try board games, 20 questions or charades.
  • Have a picnic in the garden or living room.
  • Start a chapter book, and read one chapter each day. Or tell a story together – you can take turns to add the next instalment.
  • Turn on some music and have an indoor singing, lip-sync or dance party.
  • Follow along to some YouTube exercise videos.
  • Make and edit a short video together.
  • Take a virtual tour of a gallery or historic place together.
  • Go for a walk or bike ride together if you can keep a responsible distance from other people.