Social Distancing

Social Distancing

Social distancing has become another new norm when coronavirus was introduced to the whole world. While there may still be people standing less than 2 metres away from another, it is still critical to teach our children about social distance. Here are some tips on how this can be done.

Tips on Teaching Social Distancing

1) Educate them. Explain to your child the importance of social distancing. The easiest way to do this is through the use of a social story on Social Distancing. When children are able to comprehend the reason for social distancing, it may help quicken their learning. A downloadable resource of this social story can be found on our website. 


2) Teach the skill. Break down the skill to smaller parts and pair learning with reinforcement. For some children, or maybe most of them, having the social story read to them alone as a teaching strategy for any new skill is not sufficient for learning to take place. Therefore, this programme will be taught in a more structured way, similar to how the concept of Personal Space is taught. 

Image Source: iStock

Prerequisites & Materials

a) Prerequisites 

  • Cooperation
  • The ability to follow First Then instructions
  • Attention
  • Imitation
  • Ability to wait
  • Visual Referencing skills – the ability to refer to visual cues and be able to follow the cue, with minimal or no support. 


b) Materials for Social Distancing 

Break down the skill

The first target is to teach children to locate and stand on the visual cue, which are commonly found in public places like the elevator, lining up at the grocery store, in hospitals, and the list goes on.


Following this, children will be taught to stand longer on the visual. The duration will be gradually increased when successes are observed. The duration can start from as low as 5 seconds and up to 60 seconds and longer if necessary. 


It is also appropriate for children to be holding an age-appropriate favourite or comforting item while they stand and wait for the timer to go off. 


This programme can be broken down even further by adding a prompt then a no-prompt step. In this case, the prompt can be provided via an imitation, in which case an adult will demonstrate the skill first before they start doing it on their own.

Let's Teach!

Here are the steps for running the practices:

  1. Read the social story
  2. Show the video model 
  3. Show the First Then board
  4. Give the instruction, “Stand on cue”
  5. Begin practice & start the timer
  6. Praise and give rewards!


The duration of time can be increased when a child is able to maintain social distancing. Also consider to fade the visual cues so a child is able to maintain this skill without them. 

Your Turn

  1. Prepare all the materials for your child to practice social distancing by following the visual cues. 
  2. Next, break down this skill and start the practice.