Five ways to keep up with extended family in a pandemic
Updated: Nov 2
We know that when families lived closer to each other, the job of raising children was easier as it was spread around various different members of our extended families. As the African proverb goes, 'It takes a village to raise a child' and, even when that village is a different kind of extended family, including caregivers, babysitters and holiday clubs, our children still feel the benefits. Now, as the world’s response to the pandemic is again shifting, it's useful to remember that our little ones won’t understand why they could hug grandma again, and now they can't. So here's some tips on keeping those extended family and friends relationships thriving for them (and us).
1. Video calls
Whether you've been zooming all summer trying to stay on top of work, or FaceTiming your besties after a wind down Gin, technology has kept us connected. It's the number one best idea for keeping a relationship with extended family thriving, since we all know that small children are
always fascinated by watching loved ones in person, or on screen. Some families have fine-tuned this method of communicating with games and story times which means no one will ever be at a loss for words.
If you're looking for a good book to read to or together (get two copies - one for each household) we loved this year's 'While we can't Hug' by Eoin McLaughlin and Polly Dunbar. Join best friends Hedgehog and Tortoise, as they learn how to show love while maintaining social distancing. Warning: this book might bring a tear to your eye.
3. Posting memories
We all remember the lovely feeling of a letter or package dropping onto the doormat when we were younger. Unfortunately, with the rise of tech savvy grandparents, as well as everyone else, rarely does much of interest pop through our doors these days. But, this could be a win win situation for everyone! Consider posting some of the lovely artwork you’ve created with your children to their favourite godparent or great aunt, they will be delighted to get something so unique and personal and you will have decluttered. Result!
4. Make your child a movie director
Children love watching videos, too much probably, but what they enjoy just as much is making their own! Why not help your little one to record a video diary, complete with their own wobbly camera work. You could theme the entries or encourage them to think of a story to give them some guidance. Maybe it's just an introduction to all their cuddly toys, or a tour around their little fairy garden? Using tech for creative fun will also teach them about the power of stories and provide learning opportunities around the home too. Don’t forget this is a two way street so make sure you ask family and far flung friends to send little videos or voice messages back.
5. Little ones have big friends too...
One of the reasons we are so proud of our library of video classes is that we know that our Maggie & Rose teachers hold a special place in the hearts of our club regulars and their children. In the same way, there might be regular friends and helpers from your child's life that they are missing, and maybe didn’t even realise it. It’s perfectly okay to ask for a message, handwritten or via video from your child’s favourite teacher, or your local shop keeper etc.