I miss seeing my family in person so much especially during these holiday times.
Visiting with my family through Zoom or Skype or Facetime has been so uplifting and precious. I especially love the small frequent visits with my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson!
Larger groupings of family are also wonderful – especially on those special days when we would normally be together.
It’s not always easy to pull off a larger group meeting so here are some tips that will make it more enjoyable for everyone.
1. Time – Pick a time that will work for everyone. This will probably not be the best time for everyone on the call, but it is a time that will work without too much stress.
· Don’t schedule during a major sport event – you will never have everyone’s attention
· Don’t schedule during a child’s normal nap time – you’ll have a fussy baby to contend with
· Don’t schedule too late in the day – some older people go to bed about the time the young adults are ready to start their evenings
· Do communicate with someone in each home ahead of time and get some meeting times that will work for everyone
2. Topic – It can make for a more interesting conversation if there is a theme or topic. That does not mean that the whole time needs to be spent on that topic, but it is a good kicking off place to get the conversation started. Some topic ideas:
· Gratitude – what are we thankful for during this holiday season
· Remembrance – what was a special holiday for you and why
· Recent wins – what has happened recently that you’d like to brag about
· Goals for the new year
· Brainstorming some ideas for a family vacation in the year when we can get together again
3. Take turns – Make sure that everyone gets a chance to share from the youngest to the oldest. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing those young adult grandchildren standing there but never hearing a word from them. And it is also important to realize that the older members may need more time to formulate their thoughts and get them expressed so allow time for that process without jumping in and talking over them. Consider:
· Having one person moderate the call – it may be the host who set up the call or another family member but someone who can keep the conversation flowing
· Letting any members who may have to leave after a while speak first before they must excuse themselves
· Giving permission to youngsters to leave the call after a set time so that others can continue chatting without them – that way they are more likely to attend the next call
If possible, go ahead at the end of the call and set up that next call. It gives family members who so much long for the contact something to look forward to.
As we continue to separate to stay safe, I hope that everyone has someone they can virtually visit with, laugh with, cry with, and celebrate with during this holiday season!