How to stay in your child’s life during a pandemic
Life hasn’t been normal for what seems like forever. In 2019, you probably didn’t know you’d be wondering how to stay in your child’s life during a pandemic. Staying connected during Covid has become a struggle for many people around the world and many came into it unprepared.
While the initial reaction to the pandemic was to worry about how much toilet paper was on hand, the truth is, staying connected is what should have been on our minds. After months of keeping our distance and physically isolating, many are feeling bereft and uncertain. Part of the reason is that the normal social interactions with our family and friends have disappeared.
Where we might have spent hours visiting our children and grandchildren, now we stay indoors and watch TV. We used to drop by people’s houses for a visit, now we are lucky if we think to call.
The psychological ramifications of this pandemic can’t be underestimated as we are not meant to be solitary creatures. We all understand this, but what can we do to stay in touch with our child’s life during this pandemic?
Acknowledge that you may need to go out of your way to stay connected during Covid. Set a time each day to reach out or establish how many times you want to connect with your child every week. Then, make sure you stick to it. When your life has been put on hold and the weeks have stretched into months, time is a strange thing. Time may seem to be dragging but all of a sudden, weeks have gone by.
Don’t assume you know how and when your child or your grandchildren want to connect. In the absence of face-to-face interactions, pointedly asking questions is important. Things to ask:
- How often do you want me to connect with you?
- Is there some way I can help with my grandchild?
- What ways of connecting work best with you?
They may have concerns you know nothing about, and this is the perfect opening for them. Maybe they are struggling with the role of teacher because their child’s school is shut down. Would it be helpful for a grandparent to work on their homework and take some of that off the parent?
You might feel perfectly comfortable with online technology and have no problem with various online meeting options. Or you may not. Because you’ve asked your child what their preferred way of connecting is, you may need to learn something new.
This is an excellent opportunity to learn a new program by discovering free or low-cost online tutorials. If your child doesn’t have a preference, then you have the chance to research all the available options.
Use this as a topic of conversation when you reach out to your friends. What programs have they found helpful with their families?
If you are used to utilizing online programs for information only, you may need to re-think your approach. There are plenty of fun and interesting ways of using online programs to help with staying connected during Covid. Here are a few to spur your imagination:
- Have meals together. Decide on a menu ahead of time, set the table and place a mobile device at the table. Eat and chat just like they were in the same room with you.
- Watch a show together.
- Read to your grandchild.
- Do an art project at the same time. Color and chat or draw and share your creations with each other.
- Download the same game (Houseparty is a great one to try!) and play together. There are many which use video and audio so you can play charades or Pictionary type games.
And you don’t need to stick to the online to get creative when figuring out how to stay in your child’s life during a pandemic. Why not drive by and wave? Honking parties have become a big thing in some towns for those who are having birthdays. Dress up in a costume and put on a show in front of their living room window. Your creativity is the only limit.
One often overlooked way of staying connected is good old-fashioned mail. Send cards, gifts or letters via snail mail. Who doesn’t love to receive something in the mailbox besides bills? Do some research and find out if there is a makeshift drive in theatre being set up. There are theatres who are converting their parking lots to drive-ins for example. Make a date to meet there and you can park an appropriate amount of space apart and chat during the showing.
No, not physically. Meet them where they are at right now. Staying connected during Covid means being creative and inventive and keeping the lines of communication open. If they’re a college student and are stuck doing work at home, check if they need someone to proofread their work. Maybe they need someone to grill them for an upcoming exam?
Staying connected during Covid is easier if you understand where they are in their life, what challenges they face and their pressure points.
Staying connected during Covid is not impossible and in fact can offer some great opportunities. If you use creativity and excellent communication, staying in your adult child’s life during a pandemic may actually result in a stronger bond.
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