Not being able to see family and friends has been one of the toughest parts of lockdown. Especially for the children, many of whom are too young to really understand why they can’t play with friends or see their grandparents. Early on it was necessary to find other ways to communicate. My children have a granddad who is a wizard with Skype, Zoom and WhatsApp, so we’ve probably seen more of him these last 8 weeks than we usually do! On the other side of the family they have a technophobe grandma who has no mobile, but will chat for hours on the landline. But the kids hate talking on the phone … it hasn’t been easy. As for them keeping in touch with friends, well my daughter has gained an American boyfriend during lockdown via a discord room that she moderates and my son plays Xbox with lots of his friends every single day. They also meet up with friends during their karate and singing classes via Zoom. But that’s just us … how have other bloggers managed to keep their children in touch with friends and family? Let’s see …
At the beginning of lockdown I created an email address especially for my son and added all of the family’s email addresses to the contact list on his iPad. He loves emailing his grandparents, aunties and cousins to tell them what he has been up to and send them photos. He gets so excited when he gets a notification that they have emailed back, which is lovely. I also contacted a few of his friend’s mums and asked them to set up email addresses for them too, so now they all send each other group emails – it’s a lot less stressful than some of the group Zoom meetings we’ve attempted to do which usually just end up with them all talking at the same time! And not only are they all keeping in touch, but it’s also helping with their literacy skills too!
Submitted by Ella, Typical Mummy
It has been so hard seeing our daughter miss her friends and family during the lockdown. Being an only child, it’s difficult to see her craving her friends and also wondering when she can go back to see her grandparents! With her friends, we have been keeping in touch by cycling round to their houses and delivering cakes and other gifts such as friendship bracelets. It is good because as well as getting good exercise by cycling around, we get to have a chat through the window at a distance. Then, her friends also pop around with surprises a few days after we’ve delivered theirs.
Family live further away, so unfortunately we have not been able to physically see them during the lockdown. To keep in touch, we have been sending homemade cards and enjoying video calls. Even though video calling with young children proves tricky due to their attention spans! One way of video calling that works for us is just to leave the video call running whilst we play so that relatives can feel that they are here with us in our house.
Submitted by Emma, Happy Family Hub
Since lockdown began we have been trying to find fun and exciting ways to keep in touch during lockdown with family and friends. We have been doing a lot of regular phone calls and face time with the grandparents. But we wanted to make it a little bit more fun for all involved so we added in our musical instruments!
Keeping in touch during lockdown can be hard and emotional. We found the grandparents were missing seeing the boys and our faces when speaking over the phone. When we introduced face time to them it became an activity we looked forward to in the evenings! If you have been following us for a while you will know that we love music and we all play instruments together as much as we can. We have made family music videos together and performed them live over face time. As we are big Disney fans we chose ‘You’ve got a friend in me’ which we felt was a perfect song given the current climate! We couldn’t all play the same song on our instruments so we all had turns to perform which worked really well!
Submitted by Rowena, Rowena’s Teach and Travel
There has been no better time than now to strengthen family bond and relationships during these unprecedented and uncertain times. We have been hosting zoom calls most weekends to keep in touch with our loved ones all over the UK and the world.
We all decide on a theme each week for the zoom call and last Sunday was all about fitness! We all showed up ready to party! My hubby was leading on the call and it was so much fun. Who said we needed a gym when we could all have fun in the comfort of our own homes?
Four other families joined the call this weekend with their kids all dancing to the beats. It was accepted to have another fitness call this coming Sunday because everyone had so much fun while exercising and Zumba will be on the menu.
Submitted by Yvette, Uplifting and Inspiring Content
My son has been regularly posting artwork to his grandparents during lockdown. It’s a lovely keepsake for them and there’s nothing like receiving something that you can keep and look at for a long time to come. We do still chat to family but I know they love to receive their special art parcels through the post. It is easy to buy postage labels online now so we don’t have to physically go to the post office. We’ve sent mosaic pictures, drawings, window decorations and his next project is to create some scratch pictures for them. We have also sent artwork to other loved and missed friends and family.
Submitted by Suzy, Our Bucket List Lives
My kids are very close to their cousins and not seeing them for so long has been a struggle. To help them stay in touch my kids are reading bedtime stories which I film on my phone then send to their younger cousins. Not only has it been a fantastic way to keep us all connected, it helps our brothers and sisters entertain their little ones (which has been quite a task without pre-school and soft play to wear them out!) We have done some live Facetime reading too but recording the stories means the cousins can watch them again and again. The kids have also written their own stories and acted them out to add some variety. As an added bonus my kids are practising their reading, writing and drama skills so it’s part of their home schooling!
Submitted by Amy, All about a Mummy
Being without your school friends is hard. So, we wanted a way of keeping in touch with classmates weekly, while also giving us a gentle nudge to get some home learning done, and be a bit of fun too. Every Sunday we vote on a topic for the following week, then we all interpret the theme in our own way before getting together on a group video call for a ‘show and tell’ later in the week where we share what we’ve learned, activities we’ve tried or things we’ve made. There are no rules but having fun and looking silly on the video call has practically become compulsory (especially for the mums) as the weeks have gone on! Once show and tell is over we let the kids have a catch up before each putting forward a topic for the vote.
Learning about the Egyptians was a particular highlight!
Submitted by Emma, Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs
With my boys being 4 and 6 years old, they can’t seem to hold a conversation on a video or phone call longer than a few minutes without going a little bit silly. It’s all about catching them in the right mood.
So what we started to do very early on in lockdown, were little video clips of them talking on camera to send to friends and family over WhatsApp. These are sometimes a couple of minutes long, or just a few seconds. But it means I can catch them in the right mood, often when we’re out on our daily walk. If you record these directly within the app, the file size is much smaller than using the video function on your phone’s camera app.
And WhatsApp has also been great for me in keeping in contact with friends and family. With now having to juggle schooling the boys around work and everything else, I have very little time for a long chat on the phone. Sometimes a quick message on WhatsApp (I love the voice message function!) just keeps those friendships ticking over in lockdown.
Submitted by Jenny, Peak District Kids
Social distancing has been the hardest on our 5 year old more than anyone else in our family during this period of strange times. In a bid to keep up regular contact with her friends, myself and other mums set up zoom calls, however we found they were getting obsessed with buttons and fiddling with the device more than having a good old chat. So, we decided to get the kids doing some art at the same time, showing each other pictures as they go along. It gave the zoom call a wee bit of structure and it felt like more productive socialising.
We are ordinarily a home education family but the current times are no reflection of what it’s normally like. Ordinarily we meet up with other home Ed families regularly and go to groups and classes together. Doing art classes with her friends is something our daughter usually does anyway so doing this over a zoom call brought a little bit of normality to things.
The kids show each other the pictures on zoom and then post them to each other with a little note. They loved waiting for their letter to arrive!
Submitted by Karen, Travel Mad Mum
We now play Bingo over Facetime with the grandparents on a Friday – it gives the kids something to look forward to. You can print the bingo sheets for free from https://myfreebingocards.com/numbers and I share that link with the person on the other end of the call and they print some out too. We get one of my parents to be the bingo caller (the print out has a Bingo caller sheet numbered from 1-90 so they know what they’ve called out and can keep track). They shout out the numbers and the kids play along – it’s a snack for the first person to get a line and a bigger treat for someone getting house. They’ve been picking something from the stash of presents I usually keep for birthday parties, but you can be inventive and use whatever you have at home. Sometimes I’m the Bingo caller so both my parents and the kids can play along. There is even an online bingo caller video which you can use but my mum couldn’t hear this as well as me doing it (YouTube video).
I like playing as it gives a different type of connection – the kids haven’t been doing much and find it hard to make conversation sometimes. But this way we all have a laugh together.
Submitted by Jodie, Maidenhead Mum