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How to Help Kids Who Can't See Their Friends and Family Due to the Pandemic

I miss being able to see my grandmother. She is in a nursing home and it is locked down due to the pandemic. No outside guests. Haven't been able to see her for over 3 months now. I don't think I am alone. Many, many people are feeling sadness and loss from not being able to see some of their family members and close friends.

This can especially be true with kids when they can't see their grandparents, cousins, close friends, etc.

Let's look at some practical ways that we can help kids who are dealing with this.

Connect virtually.

Zoom. Skype. Facetime. Messenger. These are just a few of the platforms you can use to connect with family and friends.

During this time, we have been playing an online game with our adult kids called House Party. It allows you to not only see each other on your smart phones, but also has fun games you can play together online. Be intentional and schedule times to connect with each other online.

Talk about fun times you've had together. This is a great time to look through old photographs and watch those wonderful family videos you have stashed away. This can deepen your relationships even when you are apart.

Our family started a memories box many years ago. We put important things in the box that will remind us of events and memories that we have shared over the years. A ticket to a show you saw together. A flower from a graduation ceremony. An airplane ticket to a great place you went on summer vacation. A sea shell you picked up on family vacation to the beach.

Remind them that it's only temporary. Yes, it has been months...long months since we were told not to get out. And it may be several more months before we can engage in a "normal" or "new normal" life. But remind your kids that it won't last forever. For kids, time appears to move slower. Remember how long it seemed until Christmas or a birthday finally came when you were a kid? Let kids know that this is not a permanent way of life.

Let them know they will be able to get out and see their friends and family before long. If you have specific dates when they say we can get out and about, share that date with them. Model how to manage your emotions in a situation like this. Kids pick up on our emotions and will imitate us. Make sure you keep a good, positive attitude during these times of separation. Show a spirit of gratitude for the blessings you do have. When you increase your gratitude, you will find that it helps decrease anxiety. Rather than spending the time talking about the pandemic, focus on the fun things that will happen when you are able to be together again and good memories you have from the past.

Initiate contact. Reach out to friends. Contact family members. Don't sit back and wonder if anyone is going to contact you to talk and catch up. Take the initiative to connect kids to the people they miss seeing.

Help them see why this is happening.

A big question kids may ask is "Why is God allowing this to happen?" That's a question you need to be ready to answer because not addressing it could hinder their faith in God if not answered correctly. In this previous post, I share what to tell kids when they ask this question.

And if kids don't ask the question, then take the initiative and talk with them about it. You want kids to have the right answers to critical questions. And the right answers need to come from you.

Your turn. What else is helpful for kids during this time? We'd love to see your thoughts, ideas and insight in the comment section below.

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