Staying Connected During Social Distancing

What a difference a week makes. Last week we were dealing with the tiring effects of the time-change, looking forward to March Break and wondering if Friday the 13th would bring any shenanigans.

This week we are employing social distancing, wondering if we will run out of toilet paper and considering how we will keep our kids engaged over the next three weeks or longer.

For many, this March Break has been disappointing. Travel plans have been cancelled. March Break camps have been cancelled. Businesses are closed. And we are living in a world unlike any we’ve seen before.

But this can also be a time of connection and learning within our families, and technology may provide unique opportunities to connect with one another in ways we have not considered.

We all have a responsibility to follow social distancing guidelines. We need to allow a few weeks of discomfort to protect the most vulnerable. During this time you may be wondering how you will pass the time. You may be wondering how your kids and teens will learn during this time away from school.

This is a great time for us to teach our kids some important life skills. So, during this time of social distancing, consider holding “adulting school” for your teens. Some life skills every kid should learn, and that they will ultimately thank you for include:

  • Cooking a simple meal (not out of a box)
  • Sew a button or fix a torn hem
  • Checking the oil in the car
  • Changing a flat tire (do they even know where the tire is?)
  • Doing the laundry
  • Understanding a bank statement
  • Creating a budget
  • Writing a grocery list
  • Doing simple home repairs
  • Writing a thank-you note

For other academic learning, there are many online options. Many kids, especially teens, have brought home work that needs to be completed or will be able to access their classes on Google Classroom. Kids may benefit from some structured learning time each day.

We also want our kids to have some fun. But since we are not assembling with other kids or families, not going to places where people gather, we will need to find fun with our families. Some ideas to get you started include:

  • Watching some classic movies together (consider an ’80s movie extravaganza)
  • Teach the kids a new card game such as euchre
  • Bring back classic games such as crokinole or cribbage
  • Go for a hike as a family – nature is very healing
  • Take in a new Netflix series
  • Make and enjoy a new meal together

Most of all, we need to remember that this is not a time to panic. This is a time to be prepared, but not to hoard. Honestly, you do not need 7 Costco packs of toilet paper. Save some for the people who are down to their last roll. It is a time to be proactive. Wash your hands regularly, stay home if you feel unwell. Limit your exposure to other people. Follow the guidelines given to us by our health officials. This is a time to look out for our neighbours. Call them. Make sure they have what they need. People may begin to feel very lonely and isolated and this can affect their mental well-being. So stay connected with people you usually connect with and reach out to those you might not usually connect with. Let’s let this time of social distancing become a time of profound connection.

If you are feeling isolated or alone, or if you have any questions or needs, please contact me here or via my social media accounts. I am here and I am ready to help in a any way I can.

To those on the front lines of this, the doctors and nurses, thank you. You are putting your health on the line every day and we are so grateful for the sacrifice you are making each day. Friends, stay home for them. Stay home so they can go home to their families. Stop the spread of this virus so they don’t have to wonder if they are bringing it home to their children and partners.

To the workers cleaning our hospitals and schools, the workers in the grocery stores helping us make sure we have what we need, thank you. You are dealing with fist fights and short tempers. Stay safe out there. Friends, when you are in the stores, show kindness to the people checking you out and stocking the shelves. They are tired. They are also worried about their families.

Stay safe and well, my friends.

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