After several months of full or partial stay-at-home orders, chances are your kids figured out a way to keep busy and to stay in-touch with their friends.

Now that school is in-session and many districts are providing “school-at-home,” it’s likely that your kids are missing their pals and the usual social interaction that comes in the classroom. If you’re looking for after-school activities that are safe and social, here are some ideas.

Traditional After-School Programs

Being with friends is extremely important. Social interaction fosters non-traditional learning that is difficult to replicate online. Even if your child is learning at home, they can still join a traditional after-school program.

Many communities have developed safe options for children to be together. Some are highly structured and others simply provide a safe space to study or to get homework help. Check out your local school, YMCA, Boys & Girls Club or Future Business Leaders of America to learn what is available where you live.

Virtual Activities

True, your child is getting plenty of screen time. However, these are unprecedented times and there are a lot of great ways that you and your family can leverage technology to help your kids connect with others.

If your child is in elementary school, virtual play dates, games or movie nights can help to bring the virtual classroom together. It’s easy to simplify planning by using an app that will help you to invite participants and to manage the activities.

Teens with extra time on their hands can volunteer online and contribute to the local (or global) community while building their resume and college applications. The Red Cross needs volunteers to support frontline workers as digital advocates and is always seeking teens to be virtual tutors for struggling students.

Pods and Bubbles

Another idea that’s gained popularity this summer is a quarantine “pod” or “bubble” that is created by two or three families who agree to socialize with one another (and no one else). Inside the pod, families can spend time together without social distancing and, in order to keep the pod safe, each participant agrees to stick to social distancing guidelines outside of the pod.

Many people are forming learning pods so that multiple students can get together for school. Depending on the age of your children and your family’s social needs, it may be time to reconsider who is in your pod and to create a new one. This way, your pod can extend beyond the school day so that your children have other kids to spend time with.

As a parent, you are facing a school year that is starting-at-home—and it’s hard to know how to support your child through this. Keep in mind, no one has done this before. Do what you can to stay positive, flexible and rested. We are here for you! For more tips, inspiration and advice on how to navigate the real estate industry during these unprecedented times, visit the Buffini Bonus Resources for ideas.

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