There I was in uncharted territory. “Who’s next”, she said. I wanted to rambunctiously run, feeling as if she would call on me next, as my throat became desert dry and a wave of shyness furiously flooded over me unleashing a torrential takeover of fear. Just a trickle of dreaded words next rang out, “I see you, Dr. Kaya-Dr. Kaya”, she said. Cardi B., one of the top female rappers of our time (who is notoriously known for her “ratchet” and no-holds-bar language and foul mouth) was attempting to utter my name with a tremendous fail. My jittery stomach sunk within. How did I, the educator, find myself on social media watching Cardi B’s Instagram Live at 11:00pm on a Sunday night? I was wholeheartedly out of my comfort zone, like a fish finding the uneasiness of desert sand felt on the brink of social depletion.

With entertainment venues’ doors slammed shut, I broodingly traveled to terrifying terrain that I had not known-live social media engagement. I quickly jumped from Cardi’s live feed and clicked on another and another. One had 150,000 and was filled with a collection of music lovers of the wide world. There they all were dancing from home and jamming to @Dnice’s tunes. They were having a real at-home dance party, all separated by space, but not the spirit of the dance. Some of the biggest names of the world were being shouted out alongside other music lovers around the globe. The celebrity DJ’s hope was to bring a fun, relaxing environment to take people’s minds away from the alternative downward mindset that has robbed many of “happy place” thoughts. On Facebook, friend A and friend B are still gleaming hope and excitement from the amazing time they had in the virtual “jam session” by @Dnice. A sense of community was formed, and I was left to think about the other parents of the world and how they are engaging in viable, fun, enriching activities that extend beyond social media? What other ways are parents staying connected to others when social distancing reigns?

There is something we (as parents) can take away from this age of social distancing. There used to be a time when we would sit around the dinner table every night in my house growing up. Our eyes would twinkle with the hope of tomorrow, as superwoman mom would go around the table asking us how our day was. She endeavored to find out what we were experiencing in our worlds, as kids. One gift that this circumstance has unfolded is the gift of time. My sons are no longer engaged in school or sports-based activities. Therefore, that opens up a glorious window filled with the light of hope. This is an opportunity for us to initiate critical conversation and engagement with our children that matters most. Thus, after learning some of the new Tik Tok dances with my 9th grader and attentively listening to the teen-focused items swirling in his ever-developing teen boy mind, I have strengthened my understanding of him. I have “leaned in” through methodologies (like social media) that were tremendously foreign and new. Besides, we were tuned into Cardi B’s live feed together, side-by-side. Social distancing led to an open door to deeper family engagement within our home that has created merry memories that will far outlive now.

To that end, may you and your family find the virtual resources below helpful in ushering in a plethora of ways to find virtual engagement, enrichment, and entertainment that will hopefully take parent-child and family relationships to new heights of flight in the age of social distancing. One last note, if you know a family with a student lacking internet access, Spectrum is offering 2 free months of internet and WiFi services for students amidst COVID-19. For more information: Call 1-855-243-8892.

Virtual ideas to entertain you and the kids from home:

https://www.mother.ly/lifestyle/virtual-activities-to-entertain-kids-during-self-quarantine?rebelltitem=1#rebelltitem1

Virtual field trips for kids:

https://www.weareteachers.com/best-virtual-field-trips/

https://adventuresinfamilyhood.com/20-virtual-field-trips-to-take-with-your-kids.html

Physical Activity, Play and Discovery Links:

Free online resources for exploratory learning, physical activity, mindfulness and more.

Food Access and Nutrition Links:

Online Resources for Transition to Online Learning/ Homeschooling

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