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David Coleman: How will social distancing affect your child's emotional development?

Parenting in a pandemic means teaching children to keep their distance from others and ensuring they avoid their friends. But how will this affect their development and what can we do to ensure their wellbeing? Our parenting expert has some advice

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Stay connected: social distancing doesn’t have to lead to an emotional distancing

Stay connected: social distancing doesn’t have to lead to an emotional distancing

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Stay connected: social distancing doesn’t have to lead to an emotional distancing

How are you surviving your enforced family time? I think many of us are finding it more stressful than we imagined. At first it may have seemed a bit like we needed to plan for the kids as if it were a school holiday, but the level of social distancing required has meant that few of the things we normally do during holiday times are feasible.

The fact that we must currently forbid social gatherings for our children may also be provoking some nervousness for parents, as we worry that all of this isolation may impact on our children's sociability and the social and emotional development that is usually promoted by hanging out with, and playing with, their friends.

Even if we arrange to go for walks and come across other families we know, we have to keep at a distance that prevents the usual running around, hugging, tumbling, or horseplay that might occur in their play together. So, in their play, they won't have any of the usual physical closeness that they might have enjoyed with friends.