Since August, I’ve enjoyed regularly spending my afternoons with two wonderfully outgoing kids. We’ve gotten close—even in 6 months’ time. We’ve really bonded over the competition of the newest board game, figuring out homework challenges together, and even just listening to each other about how our day went. We become such a regular part of each other’s lives. That connection was dramatically interrupted when the state called for an official shelter-in-place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Babysitters & Nannies Miss Their Kids
Staying in my apartment 24/7, there are a lot of people in my life that I miss spending face-to-face time with. The most immediately noticeable was the kids. We went from spending every day together to spending no days together. I wondered if they missed me too?
I wanted to find a way to connect with the kids to find out how they were doing and give them (and myself) a sense of normalcy. I discussed the idea of a virtual sitting using Zoom with their mom. She was excited about the idea of getting some relief from caring for her kids and working full-time and I was excited to reconnect with the kids I used to spend every day with and—to be honest—make a little money as well. So we set a date and time.
Preparing For A Virtual Sitting
In preparation for the virtual sitting, I thought about the things we typically had done together after school: playing board games, homework help, and other activities. I wanted to incorporate a few of these activities into our virtual sitting in honor of our prior normal life.
The youngest usually had spelling homework, so I brainstormed a few ideas on how I could help her learn her new words. Their mom also had a few resources for me and the kids to use. Together, we talked through the ideas we had and mutually decided on a game website called scribbl.io. This website allowed me and the kids to connect by playing a virtual Pictionary game. Both the kids and I were eager to try it.
Making It Work On Video
I thought I’d start off our time together with a few ice breakers since we hadn’t seen each other in a while. We discussed the highs and lows of being quarantined and it didn’t take long for us to get back into the groove of goofing around and having casual conversation like we used to. The oldest really wanted to play the game so I had him practice taking the lead by setting it up for us. The game was lots of fun, we took turns drawing pictures and guessing what each one was—all while still staying connected by video. It felt so nice to be able to connect with the kids again and hear their giggles that I had been missing in my quarantined life.
The Importance of Connection
Being able to laugh together at our drawings created such a positive memory for all of us. We used to take this memory-making for granted as just a typical day together. So being able to engage in something that used to be typical for us was actually quite special while in physical isolation.
Whether it’s Pictionary or working through homework, we’re all looking forward to more special time spent together doing our “typical” things in future virtual sittings. We’re all doing our best to go with the new flow of life. Virtual sitting is helping me and my family find this new flow to do what we do best together: care for their kids in the ways they need it most. And for now, that really comes down to staying connected.