Social distancing, confined to home, or maybe even actually quarantined because you are positive for the virus? Live too far away right now? Or maybe the other parent is simply denying you to visit right now? Remember that you are in control of continuing your relationship with your child/children.
Now you are angry. I can hear the statements now: “How am I supposed to do that when I can’t hug my baby girl. There is a big loss to me when I cannot run or play soccer with my teenage son?”
Luckily for you, technology gives you a number of ways to engage with your children. Here are some ideas for you to use electronic means to “visit” and build the relationship between you and each child when you cannot visit in person, as many people cannot do now:
1. Skype, Facetime, BlueJeans, Zoom, WeChat, Google Hangouts, or another communication application.
Read a book to your children. One book you could try is “A Gift You Don’t Want” which is written by a doctor about the flu. Practice reading with fun voices, turning the pages, and think about some questions to ask your child to extend the conversation.
2. Send a puzzle or craft project to your child. Children who are staying within their homes, learning social distancing due to COVID-19, and only allowed within their limited communities are having fun decorating “love rocks” and leaving them for other children to find and relocate. Send your children a kit to decorate rocks and ask them to show you their handy work during your next call.
3. Throw a puppet show for your children. You can use your children’s toys left at your house. Imagine it now, Barbie and Ken on a set you create (like swimming in the kitchen sink) having their very own soap opera narrated by you. Or G.I. Joe and a pro wrestler figurine having an impromptu wrestling match. Or get an inexpensive kit and make your own puppets during a video chat – allowing your children to pick each puppet’s design and decorations.
Be creative. Create new memories. Try as hard as you can to set aside any anger you have towards the other parent and focus on each child’s needs and what they are saying. Your children may be facing anxiety or fear over what they are hearing concerning the coronavirus. Be patient and kind when dealing with them, especially given children’s limited understanding of complex issues. Most importantly, stay connected and keep healthy.
Tell us any ideas you came up with on your own!
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