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4 Ways to Facilitate Family Connection from Afar

In an age of social distancing, connection is more important than ever. For children, adjusting to life without their peers, extended family and teachers is a challenging transition that can cause big feelings. We turned to Barbara Bearg, former Early Childhood Director at the Summit JCC Early Learning Center and grandma to Gage & Marlowe for simple ways to facilitate family connection from afar.                                                                                                                                                                     
Picture Pals — a variation on the “Pen Pal” for children able to read — “Picture Pals” is designed for early learners at various stages of reading readiness. To get started your first picture can include the question, “Will you be my picture pal?”. This will engage the child and let them know that you are awaiting a response. Take a photo of your picture and send it off to your “pal.” My grandson was so excited to receive my first picture that I received four works of art in response!

Photo Buddies — Take a picture of yourself doing a familiar activity that your little one can relate to. One Grandma sent a picture of herself making a smoothie, which is something she often does with her grandson — then asked him, “What color straw should I choose to drink my smoothie?”

Virtual Storytime Snuggles — Read a favorite story to your little friends via FaceTime. Explain to them that you are pretending to be sitting all together. Suggest they bring stuffed animal friends to storytime to make it even more fun.

A Musical Hug — Do you and your little ones have a favorite song? Sing it together any way you like ... telephone, FaceTime or if you prefer, record a song and send it to them. 

Use your creativity. Any method of connecting is what matters. Your warmth and love will come shining through.  
About the Author
Barbara Bearg is the former Early Childhood Director at the Summit JCC Early Learning Center in Summit, NJ. She is the proud 'Bubbe' to Gage, 4, and Marlowe, 18 mos, in addition to teaching a 'Wee Ones' toddler/caregiver class. She received her teaching certification from Kean University.
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