Summer is here! For the first time in her seven-year life, my daughter is sad about the school year ending. The pandemic made it tough on all of us. Social connections were brought to a full stop and it surely was a point of sorrow. Now that school is officially out, we are working on ways to stay in touch with our school friends.
We do not have a landline, nor am I interested in having one. When the first child asked for my cell phone number, I agreed. When the second child asked, I knew this could potentially be problematic. I’m not willing to have children calling my cell phone at odd hours of the day (I will still be working full time), so I had to think of something else, quickly!
So, what can parents do to help their kids keep in touch with friends over the summer?
1. Reach out to the parents from your child’s class.
If your classroom was anything like ours, I’m sure there were a few emails throughout the year with parent email addresses. Reach out to the parents and ask if they are willing to have the kids communicate over summer break. Be sure to use the BCC field so that responses will only come back to you, and not everyone.
2. Plan play dates in advance.
This can also be sent out to the group of willing parents’ email. The parents at our school usually do a grade level meetup during the summer. If your school has a PTO Facebook page, that is also an option to get the word out (if the PTO is ok with this, of course). Some ideas would be local parks, splash pads, Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens, and activities at Richland Library locations.
3. Utilize Messenger Kids!
I thought of this on the morning of the last day of school. I enabled the code through the parent portal of Messenger Kids, added my child’s name and code to a document with a message saying, “Let’s stay connected over the summer!” and cut out little copies of it. My daughter handed these out to her classmates that already had Messenger Kids (and told her friends to be sure it was ok with their parents first). If you have already missed an opportunity to do this, you still have parent emails!
Keeping the safety of children in mind, all of these interactions should be monitored through their respective parents/guardians.
Our kids missed so much of their social life during the pandemic, keeping them connected over the summer will surely be a happy moment for them in what has been a chaotic school year.