Staying in Touch from a Distance


You don’t have to surf the internet for very long before finding a meme or a post about the first thing people want to do when most of the population has been vaccinated. For me, the answer is easy. I want to see my family. I want my daughter to see her grandparents.

I suspect many of you feel the same way. 

In order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, many of us have chosen to avoid spending time with family members, even when those family members live nearby. Thankfully, there are ways to remain in touch even when we’re apart. Here’s a short list of my favorites:

1. Send snail mail

If your child is in a pod, in daycare, on a school campus, or learning remotely, chances are high they’re completing assignments an adult in their lives would love to see. Select one or two pieces of your child’s artwork or written assignments to send in an envelope to their grandparents, aunts, or uncles. You can also include a handwritten note from your child about the assignment and/or one from you detailing what the family has been up to. Even if you’re regularly chatting with your family by phone or video chat, there’s nothing like receiving a surprise letter in the mail from the people you love and miss.

2. Create a slideshow (it’s easier than you think)

Using your smartphone, you can either download an app or use your phone’s photo collage feature (standard with iPhones) to easily make a video using photos stored in your phone. Try the PicPlayPost app for your smartphone to easily create a slideshow with your pictures. If you have an iPhone, go into your photos, select the photos you want to include in the slideshow, then press the button shaped like a square with an arrow going through it (the button used to send the photos by text or email), scroll down, and select “slideshow.” It will automatically create a slideshow to music with your pictures. You can change the music, photo speed, and pictures by selecting “options.” Once you’re satisfied, you can send the slideshow to your loved ones by text or email. To make it extra personalized, choose a song for the background music that means something to them or to all of you. 

3. “Thinking of you” gadgets

Shops like Uncommon Goods have a number of really neat gadgets that make it easy to let your loved ones know you’re thinking of them. Set up one of these lamps in your home, and give one lamp to your loved one. When you or the kids are missing that person, touch your lamp, and their lamp will light up. I love this gift for someone in your life that may be in a senior care facility. These bracelets and photo frames work in a similar way and are especially handy if your loved one has been hospitalized.

4. Virtual movie night

The next time your family decides to have a movie night, tell the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and/or cousins what movie you’re planning to watch. Encourage everyone to watch the same movie on the same night. The next day, have the kids call a family member to talk about the movie. It’ll feel like you watched the movie together. You can compare favorite scenes and funny moments.

Distancing from people we love is hard, but these tips may ease the burden a bit while we wait on the day when we can embrace all of our loved ones again.


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