Friendship bubbles a lifesaver for some, source of anguish for others

Siblings each get their own bubbles and can invite friends over at the same time, but technically, they should be in different parts of the house because the different bubbles are not meant to interact.

Meanwhile, the rules on picnics in public parks and beaches allow for an unlimited number of children as long as there is a maximum of five adults from two households, all of whom must be fully vaccinated.

Charlotte Heunemann, Dee Weir, Grace Heunemann, Angela Weir, Zara Ellis playing in Echo Point Park.

Charlotte Heunemann, Dee Weir, Grace Heunemann, Angela Weir, Zara Ellis playing in Echo Point Park.Credit:Steven Siewert

Aruna Ellis from the northern beaches, a mother of three children aged 14, 12 and 11, said she found going to the park much easier and it was nice to socialise with other parents and help those who needed to drop off their children so they could work.

“It’s hard for the kids to choose one friend over the other, especially if they are younger they tend to play in bigger groups,” Ms Ellis said. “And everyone has been cooped up inside the house so outdoors have been a great change.”

Another mother who also asked to be anonymous said her 16-year-old refused to participate.

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“She told me she wouldn’t be picking amongst her friends and that she would just see them outside and wait until the rules changes,” the mother said.

Rachel from the inner west, whom The Sun-Herald has chosen not to name in full, said the lockdown had been isolating for children, but the friend bubble was “very stressful and painful for children who are left out and feel even more isolated”.

It had caused difficulty in her family, particularly for two of her daughters, aged 11 and 12.

“One of my girls had multiple options and the other who struggles to make friends asked many girls all of which told her they’d already picked their two friends and she wasn’t one of them,” Rachel said.

“As a result it caused some conflict and jealousy within our household, my daughter who had no friends started acting out and lashing out and my other daughter who felt sorry for her sister was trying to help – but it only made the situation worse.”

Another mother, who asked to be anonymous, said the biggest stress was other parents bending the rules, with many of her daughter’s friends in multiple bubbles.

“I dropped my daughter to a friend’s house only to discover at pick up that there were kids from three different bubbles there at once,” she said. “I was a bit annoyed I wasn’t told this would be the case, after being careful for so long. I sometimes feel like we are the only people following the rules!”

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