During this time of the coronavirus and quarantines, we need to think outside the box about how to keep our kids connected to the important people in their lives. Many kids are missing visits with their non-primary parent and/or other very important family members, not to mention their friends at school, so it can feel like a double whammy for some of our littles (and bigs, too!). We need to do what we can to help them stay connected in easy and fun ways, without adding an additional burden on our shoulders.
Here are a few ideas:
- Pen pals: Yes, the good ole fashioned pre-technology pen pal! Kiddos absolutely love to get letters in the mail, and they generally like sending them, as well. For littles, they can draw or color a picture, put stickers on a page, or cut (or tear) pictures out of a magazine to paste and send. Older kids may want to write a letter, send a drawing or painting, or create a comic or story to send.
- Virtual visits: Set up a time for a virtual visit with Zoom, Facetime or Skype.
- Facetime is fun for the littles because there are filters to play with so they can make faces and “dress up”, which makes for an easier, more playful conversation.
- Having a meal or a virtual ice cream party is another great way to connect. Just plan ahead of time for both parties to have the meal or snack prepared, then have them sit down at the table “together” and enjoy while they chat!
- For littles or bigs that are not as talkative, playing a game can be fun. They can play a guessing game (i.e. what animal am I thinking of?), charades, run both sides of a board game (my daughter loves to do this even when we’re all together), or play a game like Battleship if both parties have the same game.
- For bigs there are also free online board game sites like Tabletopia where they can play together.
- Virtual bedtime or story time is also a favorite. Reading together or singing a song before bed is a great way for everyone to end the night with connection.
- Marco Polo: One of our favorite apps is Marco Polo, which is a video message system (think video text). The kids can say a quick hello, show them their special project or how they are riding their bike, or doodle on the screen and make funny faces. We love this because you can do it at any time without needing the other party to be available, so it’s a great way to stay connected on your own time.
- Energetic Connection: Since it’s not always possible to be connected in one of the above ways, kids may need more connection, especially if it’s a parent they are missing. You can help them feel connected energetically by teaching them that we’re all connected, and the person that they’re missing is always in their heart. They can connect with them whenever they want through an imaginary hug, a special prayer or blessing (sending love), or a dream meet-up where as they fall asleep they think of a place they want to meet their Mom, Dad or other loved one in their dream, and what they want to do together. We often use the beach or Disneyland for our dream meet-ups! They can also have imaginary visits where you would ask what they would want to do and what they would want to say to the loved one if they were there in that moment. Keeping their loved one top of mind is often enough to allow them to feel the connection, so including them as a topic of conversation will help them feel like the other party is being included and will help them feel more secure even during this time of insecurity.
Anna Demouchet, CDFA® is a Conscious Uncoupling™ & Co-Parenting Coach, a co-parent to a magical little gal, and a foster mom many times over. She is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® and Spiritual Teacher creating a new paradigm of peace, love, and empowerment in divorce and co-parenting.
She helps parents navigate the financial, logistical and emotional aspects of divorce and co-parenting in a heart-centered, child-centered way, so they can find peace and healing instead of guilt and overwhelm.