Help your child stay connected to friends during school holidays


School is a place where children form some of their most cherished friendships.

But, if those friends live in a distant suburb or spend weeks of their school holidays away from home at a beach house, or travelling with family, spending the summer break separated can be a tough time for some kids.

And while messenger apps or Facetime calls can help fill the hole left by not being with their friends, it might not be as memorable as what the friends from the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants experienced.

To help friends stay connected, the following suggestions definitely don’t include whiling away summer by having a crush on the coach at soccer camp, but they do offer three creative ways to keep in touch with the people who matter most – even when friends are far apart during the long summer break.

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1. Write letters

Writing letters may seem like an old-fashioned way of keeping in touch. But physical letters can be kept (and treasured) forever.

Although the idea of being older and looking back on the summer period they wrote to their friends and told them about the fantastic adventures they went on with their family may seem like a foreign concept to your young kid, encouraging them to give it a go is a good way to get them away from devices for a while too – and writing letters is proven to have profound psychological benefits as well.

2. Start an online photo album

There are now multiple apps that allow people to share their photographs with others online.

A possible option is to take advantage of Instagram’s hashtag feature to create a shared album that features each of the friends’ summer experiences.

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While a lot of research has gone into the detriments of social media, such as links to anxiety, depression, and loneliness, Dr Martin Graff from the University of South Wales believes there are also benefits.

“People who feel a sense of belonging say that they have greater amounts of relationship satisfaction, reduced loneliness, and higher self-esteem,” he writes in his essay, Is Using Instagram Beneficial to Well-being?

3. Take up a hobby together

This could mean a variety of different things.

Friends could read the same book at the same time, binge-watch the same TV show (and compare notes from different parts of the country – or even the world), or share an arts and crafts project, like sewing different parts of the same outfit they can take turns wearing, knitting different sections of a scarf to share, or if they’re handy with tools, starting work on a woodwork project. At the end of the holidays, when the school term is looming and summer is already feeling like a distant memory, getting together to connect the different pieces of the craft project together can be a nice way to reconnect in person and catch up on all the events from each other’s lives they’ve missed.

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