Just because you can’t go anywhere doesn’t mean you can’t socialize and connect with others.
You will need to get a little creative though!
You don’t need a bunch of supplies or tons of time to prepare. These tips are quick and easy ways you can connect with others from home.
We’ve used these suggestions when
- We had a newborn baby at home and needed to stay home to keep her healthy.
- Someone was sick, and we couldn’t leave the house.
- We’ve been on an extended trip.
- Bad weather or other circumstances canceled events and gatherings.
Regardless of why you cannot leave home, these suggestions can help you stay connected with those you love.
What is socialization?
First, what is socialization?
Socialization is being able to interact with a variety of people in a variety of settings and follow social norms.
When we consider socializing from that perspective, it opens up the options we have available to socialize.
1. Have conversations.
Start by having conversations within your family. Ensure your children are investing in their relationships with each other. They may not appreciate it now, but as they grow and mature, they will come to appreciate the focus you place on them developing their relationships with each other.
When my children were younger, I reminded them that God put them together in this family for a specific purpose. They need each other and they need to be each other’s best friends. Even when other friends come and go, they will still have each other. Sometimes I had to remind them that if they couldn’t be a friend to their sister, I couldn’t trust them to be a friend to others and they couldn’t to go to a friend’s house.
You might encourage them to leave secret messages for each other. Around Valentine’s day one year, I left sticky notes on their bathroom mirror telling each daughter how much I loved her and what I thought was special about her. On one note, I wrote, “I love you and God does too.” One daughter added, “And I do too!” to the note.
You can have conversations with others outside of your family too! You could write a letter or send a postcard to a pen pal, cousin, grandparent, or friend. (More on this later.)
2. Spend time together.
Spend time together as a family doing something everyone enjoys.
- Read books.
- Play something active such as basketball, pickleball, four square, soccer, or catch.
- Play games.
You can even invite others who live far away to join your game! We enjoyed hosting virtual game parties. You could play Battleship, Guess Who, 20 questions, Yahtzee, or BINGO. (We used these Bingo Files and Bingo Number Generator App.)
3. Practice old-fashioned letter writing.
Modern technology allows us to connect with others in ways we couldn’t even imagine 20 years ago, but we’ve also lost some connection old-fashioned letter writing afford. Letter writing is always more fun when you have the right tools. When I purchased some nice stationery, a fountain pen, and sealing wax for my daughters, we revived the custom of letter writing that we have lost in our digital age.
4. Practice sitting still.
Even if your children are older and can sit still through a service or large gathering, they may become rusty if you are home for a long time. It may be helpful to practice sitting still and being attentive during virtual meetings or online church services. If you have a younger child who is just learning this skill, you could have him color or do something quietly that he enjoys for five or ten minutes and gradually increase the time.
5. Teach how to participate in a video call.
Virtual meetings are becoming more common each year. You can teach your children what to wear, how to act, and how to mute themselves when they’re not speaking, so they are respectful to the host and attendees.
6. Practice listening.
Help your children learn to listen more than they speak. This applies to all platforms. Whether we are in person, on a phone call, or on a video call, we should listen more than we speak. We also need to learn how to be the first to reach out because some of our friends, family, or church members may struggle and are afraid to reach out. Be the first to send them a letter, call them, or invite them to a virtual game party.