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Improving Family Connections During Tough Times

We’re about to head into month nine since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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It is placing considerable strain on families, due to the concerns about health and the need to self-distance from others. It’s hindering non-family interactions for millions of people from normal, everyday activities. Connecting during these times is essential for families and for friends. As we know, it’s good for peoples’ physical and mental wellbeing.

Thankfully, the technologies that some feel push us apart during normal times are providing families with tools to stay connected.

Virtual and Live Meetings

The pandemic has forced self-isolation and quarantines which have disrupted regular family life. Grandparents that typically watch their grandchildren every afternoon are now stuck at home. Kids no longer have play dates or lacrosse practices. 

This disruption understandably has people the world over are concerned about their friends and family members and want to find ways to connect. These dynamics prompted the explosion in usage of video chat services such as Skype, Facetime, Duo, Zoom and others. 

Zoom’s popularity has exploded thanks to an easy-to-use format which enables larger groups to participate in live video conversations. It’s ideal for distance learning as well as pulling together entire families that want to talk as a group. The company offers several tutorials to help people use the service, which proves invaluable for older people in self-isolation who many not be tech savvy. Zoom and other group video chats are perfect for remote birthday parties, happy hours, and other events that deserve some in-person communication. Video chat gives people glimpses into their family’s self-distancing lives, which can provide some comfort and solidarity. 

Facebook Live is also seeing a boost in popularity, as it gives larger families a way to view and actively comment on someone’s video story. A family of 30 spread around the country or world could use Facebook Live to watch a kid’s bar mitzvah or watch Aunt Lois bake her infamous pretzel rolls. Outside of the family, Facebook Live is also a good platform for celebrities to encourage togetherness or push fundraising efforts. Musicians are also offering their content via the platform for free, to give families and others stuck at home some uplifting messages or simply good kitchen dance music. Since families can’t go to a concert or enjoy the zoo, Facebook Live and other video services are filling that niche with educational, silly, or inspirational content. 

Send a Letter

The pandemic is pushing people towards the activities of a simpler home-based era. Cooking soups and homemade bread at home. Taking neighborhood walks. Needlepoint and crochet are seeing a resurgence as people need contemplative and slower-paced home activities. Embracing this slower pace and taking your time cooking or crafting are good ways to connect with family in the home. Families can also share their crafts and thoughts by sending actual letters to loved ones. 

The postal service remains a great way to connect with people at minimal costs. Grandparents that grew up on post-based communication are likely to enjoy receiving mail from their families. The CDC and other health organizations state the risks of any coronavirus contamination from the mail is very low, and simply recommends good handwashing practices after opening letters and practices. 

Capture Family Moments

Despite all the stress and disaster with the pandemic, there are stories of hope and togetherness. Families are making it work as they self-distance. Capturing fun moments during this challenging time is important. A time capsule like the Leavemark app can help families do this. Families and friends can have a “closed circle” to share images of the fun times and stay connected. Cataloging this increase in family togetherness is vital, as it provides a historical record of families enjoying time with each other, making the best of turbulent times.

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