MONTESSORI TODDLER: HOW WE HOLD FAMILY DEAR WHEN WE ARE APART

Covid has been tough here, as I’m sure it has been for everyone else. The girls had just turned 9 months-old when we had to quarantine, upon returning from holiday, and then stay away from others ever since. We don’t have a “pod” as I’ve heard many others do, people who we are able to socialize without worry. We are so fortunate E and V have each other, I know so many parents of one child who worry about socializing. The good news is that at a young age (under 3), while it’s nice, socializing with other children is not nearly as important as people think. Children get most of their socialization needs from their parents or other caretakers, but that still doesn’t stop us from being concerned that they are missing out.

We are extremely close to our family, Hubby’s mum was actually on holiday with us when the pandemic hit, so not being able to see family like we once were able to has been the most difficult. We would wear masks and take walks outside with our loved ones until cases in our area increased to the point that the risk was too great. So how are we helping E and V remember our dear family and friends?

Photos: We look over photos and talk about them a lot. We have special laminated photos that they girls can look at whenever they wish. These were really easy to make and allow the girls to have photos all of their own.

I took photos, or had family members send us photos of themselves, which I then printed and laminated. It has been over a year since they’ve had these and are still well loved. Originally I would keep only a few out at a time–favourites that they always pulled out and family members that we were going to be seeing. With the pandemic, I’ve been keeping a few more out than normal.

Stories: We talk about our loved ones all the time, inspired by photos, items or actives. Like when making something from scratch, we talk about Grammy and how she makes canned goods, her own soap–99% of everything from scratch. When picking out clothes that their great-grandma or great-aunt made them we talk about them. The girls are named after beloved family members, so that has always been a great opportunity to talk about those members–this book is still a favourite for that very reason.

Facetime: They are screen-free, except for when daddy is out of town working for long periods of time. Then we would FaceTime, no more than 10 minutes. But with this pandemic, we’ve made an exception to include family every few days. I try to rotate who we speak to, but there are times they pull out a photo and insist they speak to someone in particular–lately it’s their great-grandparents or Aunt Deb. While not ideal, this has been an arrangement that has worked well for such unconventional times.

How are you keeping close to family when apart?

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