Wednesday 8 April 2020

Affordable Ways for Moms to Connect While Social Distancing

For the foreseeable future, girl's nights away from the kids — whether out or in — are canceled thanks to the need for social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19.  If we're being perfectly honest here — it sucks.  No one likes being trapped in the house.  We're an inherently social species, and being forced to stay indoors, even for a good reason, is exhausting. It's hard to find ways to stay connected with friends and family members when phone calls and text messages aren't cutting it. Here are some affordable ways for moms to stay connected while maintaining that 6-foot social distance. 

Set Up a Neighborhood Teddy Bear Hunt

Have you ever read the children's book "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" by Michael Rosen? Published in 1989, this heartfelt book followed children who are exploring the world looking for a bear — though they run away when they finally find it! While we don't recommend hunting for actual bears, this book has inspired something new during the COVID-19 pandemic — teddy bear hunting!  Around the world, people are putting teddy bears and other stuffed animals in their windows.  Families are going for walks or drives to see how many they can spot. 

If your neighborhood hasn't already set up a teddy bear hunt, start one!  It's a great way to connect with your neighbors from 6+ feet away, and it's perfect for any neighborhood that is home to a lot of children.

Schedule a Virtual Playdate

With the internet at our fingertips, there's no excuse for letting yourself become a recluse, even in the age of social distancing.  If you can't get your mom group together in person, schedule a virtual playdate through Zoom or Google Hangouts or any of the other video chat services.  

Not only does this keep you in touch with your mom-friends — which can be better than just phone calls or text messages — it gives your kids a chance to see their friends too. You're not the only one who is lonely and missing that social interaction during this trying time.

Limit Your News Consumption

We're all beginning to understand why the ancient Greeks used to use "may you live in interesting times" as a curse. These are certainly the most interesting times that any of us have ever experienced.  While the internet is a blessing in that it allows a lot of us to work from home and stay connected while we're social distancing, it's also a curse.  There is a massive amount of news being shared, and there's no way to know what's true and what is just speculation and guesswork. Just checking social media can get overwhelming. 

Make it a point to take care of your mental health.  For us, that means limiting news consumption to information provided by the WHO, the CDC, and local law enforcement. Don't let the deluge of data overwhelm you while you're trying to stay connected.

Play Games Over Video Chat

Game nights don't have to get canceled just because you're social distancing.  You can still play board games over Zoom or Google Hangouts, as long as you're playing with someone you trust not to cheat. It's also a good time to invest in multiplayer video games but if you're not gamer, mobile games like Words with Friends can be just as useful for keeping you connected to your friends and family members. 

It sounds silly but we really need these little diversions right now when the world is a scary place.  The joy of sending someone back to start in Sorry or yelling Yahtzee when you roll those dice might seem like little thing but it can make all the difference.

Adopt a Grandparent — or Call Your Own

If you think being trapped in your home for weeks or months at a time, only leaving for essentials or work, try being a retiree in an assisted living facility.  Many of them are going through this alone and may not have children or grandchildren to talk to during this crisis.  That's why one company that maintains 13 nursing homes in and around London has launched a virtual Adopt-a-Grandparent program to help people connect while maintaining social distance.  The program pairs you with a resident through video chat so you can talk and stay connected. 

Of course, if you still have grandparents among us, you should make a point to call them too.  People that are above the age of 65 are among those most at risk from the virus, and they might be feeling lonely and scared.  Give them a call, teach them to FaceTime or help them set up a webcam so you can video chat.  

We're Not Alone in This

It might feel like we're all going it alone, thanks to the need for social distancing, but it's important to remember that we're not alone in this.  We're all in this boat together, and whether it floats or sinks is up to all of us.  Social distancing sucks, but it will keep people safe, and make it easier for medical professionals to combat the virus.We will make it through this and come out the other side hopefully a little bit kinder and more understanding.

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