Life has been trying for a lot of teenagers ever since the governors have coaxed us to stay at home. But I don’t mean to imply that these big kids have had to start working early or drop out of school. It is challenging, in the sense that they can no longer socialize with everyone they know from school.
I have seen this dilemma first-hand with my 16-year-old daughter. She is one of the most outgoing people I know. She is a member of the dance troop, debate club, and softball team. She is smart and athletic and does not conform to the status quo, so everyone adores her.
Before the coronavirus outbreak, I used to only see my daughter on weekends at night. She always either had a dance practice or softball match. When it’s offseason, she would have a slumber party at one of her best friends’ house. It was only a few houses down the street, but it still meant that I could not see her. Nevertheless, I accepted early that my daughter needed all these experiences to become a sensible and reliable adult in the future.
Now that the stay-at-home order is in place, my daughter has not seen the sun in weeks. She attends online classes on weekdays, but that’s all she can do. No matter how much she insists that it’s safe to go to her friend’s place, I put my foot down and say no. It’s not that I think there’s a virus in that house, but we can never be too sure these days.
To appease my restless child, I told her to do the same things that I’m about to say to you to continue socializing while social distancing.
Host A Netflix Party
The most effortless thing you can do is host a Netflix party. It should not be impossible, considering every household has access to this video-streaming platform. You can prepare a list of movies and then ask your friends to vote on which ones you will watch on that day.
For a better viewing experience, you may all install the Netflix Party app on your laptops or computers. Doing so allows you to share a link of whatever’s playing on your account to your friends. This way, you can watch a movie at the same time.
Hold Online Games
Do you miss playing board games with friends? Well, you should know that you need not be physically present to play against each other. There are plenty of online versions of board games—from Scrabble to Bankrupt to Snakes & Ladders—that you may try as a group.
The experience should not be as bizarre as you may assume. You are playing with your best friends; you can either encourage or trash-talk each other as the game continues. Yes, you may not see their faces, but you can express your glee through chats.
Try Video Conferencing For Hours
Perhaps not all parents will condone to this idea, but I have given my daughter permission to video conference with her friends all day long. Whether they are eating or watching TV, the kids can see one another. They do not talk about much; it’s as if they merely enjoy the company of each other.
If social distancing is a pain for adults like us, it must be more frustrating for teenagers. Their free spirits have been forced to stay in the house for weeks and avoid meeting their friends. They may not be exaggerating if you hear them exclaim, “Is this what prison feels like?!”
Despite how badly your child is taking the situation, though, you should remind them how lucky they are for having a comfortable living space. Some families have to stay cramped in a tiny room in third-world countries; others have no choice but to depend on the rations from the local government units. That’s what prison feels like, not what many of us experience here.
Instead of whining, let’s find ways to make quarantine bearable, okay?