We are going through tough times due to the COVID-19 virus. Many of us have moved across the country to be with our families, others are relegated to Skype, unable to be near their loved ones. The challenges brought by this new virus are intimidating and cause perplexities. While universities and schools are being shut down and companies are transitioning to remote work, people are questioning how they can comfortably (and safely!) spend time with their families, and potentially support and care about their old parents.
COVID-19 is most dangerous for older people so it’s important to make sure children (who are notorious for transmitting germs) are healthy. Grandparents shouldn’t be doing childcare. And even if the child stays at home most of the time, you can’t rest assured that the kid’s parents won’t bring anything home. So, how to keep family connected at this trying time?
Infographic: Ways to Stay Connected to Your Family Members During Coronavirus
How to Entertain Your Kids During COVID-19
If you are far away from your family members it’s high time to get skilled with video call platforms like FaceTime and Skype – whatever you find convenient to communicate face-to-face. Establish regular online meet-ups for reading books, playing games or doing activities.
You’ll get bored soon with just online calls. The kids who are not attending school or daycare are deprived of the daily routines they are used to. The good news is that you may start teaching kids their family history or get them involved in genealogy research. Why not make fascinating ancestry lessons for your kids?
Again, be guided by the needs of your child, and your own. Begin with simple activities and gradually move on to more complex ones. Once you get started, you’re likely to discover a wide array of opportunities.
Tell them stories about what it was like to live in times before iPads were invented. If you have children of different ages you can read a story to all of them, or ask the older children to read to the younger ones. Let it be the time to share stories and memories from your childhood and the childhood of your parents.
Ask kids what they would like to improve in their current routine and discuss all together how each of you can contribute to improving your family wellbeing. Life may not return to normal soon so it’s crucial to make sure every member of the family feels comfortable.
Make and maintain some new traditions. You may also use this opportunity to create family rituals such as having theme dinners together or playing certain games on Sundays.
Do chores as a family. Make cleaning your home responsibility of the entire family. Create a list of chores and remind them that doing chores together makes the job go much faster than doing them alone. This will help you foster a sense of teamwork.
How to Support Aging Parents During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Taking care of your aging parents should be a priority. Free up at least a bit of time for them. You may want to schedule regular video chats so you can stay in touch with them. Spending half an hour or so with them every day will let them feel secure and confident that you will give them a helping hand in times of hardship.
Provide support. Feeling supported by your family is one of the most important elements of building strong family bonds. Learn what things are important to your parents right now, what worries them and do your best to support them. At times like this, it’s so important to share both the good and the bad news.
Support your parents financially. This crisis will have a negative impact on the economy and all the people but it will affect some of us more than others. This is a time when you should be there for your parents. Be it just giving cash or paying bills, you can ease the finances a bit for your parents and help them cope with the stress that the economic downturn has produced.
Invite relatives to plan virtual celebrations and holidays with you. If a birthday is approaching, you and your family members might buy a special gift online and get it delivered to the celebrant’s home and open it “together”.
One more way to strengthen bonds with your parents and older relatives is to ask them genealogy questions, of course! It may sound weird, but this pandemic provides lots of time and opportunities to proceed with your genealogy research and uncover clues to your family history. Talk to your older relatives about their past – this activity will not only help you reveal new details but get to know them better. Undoubtedly, because of the pandemic, you have many issues to care about and the last thing you’ll want to spend time on compiling a list of questions, so, here is a ready-made questionnaire for you. Enjoy!
Don’t Forget to Entertain Yourself
If you are one of the lucky ones who have a bit of free time, it’s always a good idea to do a bit more of your genealogy research. Many online platforms are providing free access to their resources, so, why not make use of them? Search for some online webinars to improve your skills or connect with researchers to discuss some topics – it’s high time to socialize and support each other.
Family is the most important thing in life. COVID-19 may temporarily change the format of our relationships with the family. It’s hard but this will make us stronger. No matter how you like to communicate, there are all sorts of meaningful ways that we connect with our families despite any distance between us.