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How to explain social distancing to a pre-schooler

When the term social distancing first entered our lexicon a couple weeks back (remember the good old days when COVID-19 concerns were primarily toilet paper based?), I attempted to explain it to my four-year-old. 


It went something like this:

On the way to the dog park.

ME: So, you know how we were talking about germs?

HER: Uh-huh. 

ME: Well, it’s very important that we don’t get too close to other people in case we spread the germs. 

HER: Do you want a cat?

ME: So when we get to the park, if there are other people there, we don’t get too close, okay?

HER: Okay. 

HER: *Proceeds to run straight into the arms of four-year-old Marco before they play within about five centimetres of each other. 



Teach your child to wash their hands properly without singing Happy Birthday.


But then I had an epiphany. 


The Frozen franchise is the fifth member of our family. It is sung, read, watched or re-enacted in some way every day. As Frozen II has been more popular than its predecessor of late, I’d blissfully forgotten about the plot of the first installment.


I must admit, Frozen is not my favourite Disney movie. And while I applaud its interpretation of true love, I wasn’t a fan of Elsa’s parents telling their daughter to bottle up her feelings and essentially remove herself from society. BUT, Elsa is an excellent example of social distancing. She wears gloves, builds herself an ice palace in the middle of nowhere...


ME: We need to be more like Elsa.

HER: *Gets out Elsa costume.

ME: No, you know how Elsa doesn’t touch things with her hands and how she stays away from people in case she hurts them? We need to be like that.

HER: *Pulls on gloves.

HER: We should just be like Anna and fight the germs with love power.


The Frozen comparison has worked for the last few days, but has also increased the playing of ‘Let it go’ and ‘Into the unknown’. Be warned.


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Written by: Gaya Avery
Published: 29 March 2020

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