4 Ways to keep in touch (& have fun!) with family & friends at a distance

Kids are missing their friends, grandparents are shielding and we’re all staying at home. As such, I think everyone will be likely to be experiencing some feelings of loneliness at the moment so I thought it was important to think up some alternative ways to keep in touch with friends and family, including some fun things you can do ‘together’ while staying apart…

The good news is that we have more ways than ever to stay in touch with our friends and family. If you think back to only a decade ago, things would have been very different – we wouldn’t have had live events and premieres online, streaming on our TVs, video calls on our smart phones and definitely no Zoom meetings for group chats. Even if we did, our internet speed wouldn’t have been able to keep up with it!

So really, it’s easier than ever to stay connected and it’s important not to live in a ‘bubble’ at home. Mental health professional and counsellor Dina Gehr says;

It is normal for people to experience some degree of loneliness during self-isolation. However, once loneliness becomes chronic, it endangers a person’s physical and mental health.

This is precisely why it’s particularly important to stay in touch with friends and family at the moment – and it’s great to have something in the calendar to look forward. So, what can you do with each age group? Well, here are some ideas to keep you entertained and ‘together’ when you’re apart:

1 PLAY WITH KIDS

Youngsters don’t have the longest attention span for video calls and you’ll probably end up just chatting with the parents so, if you’re trying to stay in touch with cousins, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and so on, make the video call into a game. How about playing hide and seek with children? The child can hide as usual and the parent uses the video call on their smart phone as the ‘eyes’ of the family who are searching. Give instructions to look up, down, left, right, behind the doors, under the bed etc etc until you find them. Then, swap over!

2 KEEP IN TOUCH WITH GRANDPARENTS

As the older generation, grandparents and great-aunts and uncles, are likely to be shielding. If you need to explain to little ones why they can’t see their grandparents at the moment, Save The Children have offered some advice for talking them through the situation. Instead of visiting grandparents, why not send them some ‘happy post’?

Care provider Country Cousins recommends sending cards and letters to elderly family members, and it’s especially nice for them to receive homemade cards. While many grandparents – and great-grandparents for that matter! – are already on-board with emails, video calls and text messages (Mintel research shows 36% of Brits aged 65+ have spent more time chatting on video calls than ever before) there’s still nothing nicer than receiving a hand-written note in the post. Plus, they may send a letter back, and children are always delighted to receive their own mail! 

3 WATCH ENTERTAINMENT TOGETHER

Just because you’re apart, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the same entertainment at the same time. Families and groups of friends can gather together on video calls to play games, join virtual pub quizzes and watch things together. Its certainly something that I’ve been doing with my friends over the past few weeks and it gives us something to look forward to. Paul Davies from Mintel Leisure said:

Young people usually have the busiest social lives so they have faced the most dramatic changes under the lockdown

Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can still have ‘nights out’ and ‘evenings in’ together with your friends. Live steam events like Comedy at the Covid Arms and musical premieres on YouTube channel The Shows Must Go On give you and your group of friends a time to meet up on a Friday or Saturday night, and you can experience the same entertainment together. ‘Meet up’ on a video call before the show to have a drink and a catch up and then chat after the show (or during the interval) to discuss the performance.

4 LOOK AT PHOTOS WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY

Research by CEWE has shown that looking back at our photos makes us feel nostalgic (64%), happy (56%) and relaxed (30%) so this activity would be really beneficial at the moment. While you can’t share physical photographs (unless you post them – which would be another example of happy post!) you CAN put together an album of digital photos and send them over to your group of friends or your extended family to brighten their day. Even better – arrange a Zoom call and share your screen as a slide-show presentation so that everyone can see the photos at once and reminisce about that holiday, wedding or day out together.

What other at-a-distance activities have you been doing with your family and friends recently? I’d love to hear your ideas so please leave me a comment below with your stay-home tips and live-stream suggestions 🙂

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

2 thoughts on “4 Ways to keep in touch (& have fun!) with family & friends at a distance

  1. Thanks for sharing 🙂 A great idea to play games over video call. I’ve been finding calls a challenge. I tried hide and seek yesterday it worked really well. Getting the grandparents to take thier glasses on and off, my little one thought was hilarious!! Simple things X

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