Beating the Post-Holiday Slump: Keep Family Connection Strong All Year Round
During the holidays, we typically allocate more time to visit with family and spend quality time together in person. Then January hits and the festivities are over, and busy school and work schedules resume. We are back to being separated whether it’s because of full calendars or geographical distance.
It’s hard not to feel wistful about those precious moments of togetherness and connection we had last month that passed all too quickly. But there’s an easy way to re-create those feelings of closeness all throughout the year.
One of the most powerful tools at our disposal for enhancing our connection is simply our voice.
The sound of a loved one’s voice can bring comfort and convey emotion. Scientists have found that a loved one’s voice can even reduce stress markers while increasing “feel-good hormones” in our bodies. Letters, texts and emails are nice, but think of the many times the sentiment or heart behind a message rang flat without that voice component adding depth and feeling to the message.
Here are a few tips for harnessing the power of voice to recapture the feeling of connection – whether it’s distance or busy schedules that are keeping you apart.
Tips for Successful Video and Phone Chats
- Regularly Scheduled Commitment: For video or phone chat “dates” to be successful, they need to be something all parties can stick to and fit in their busy schedules. The most important thing is actually getting something regular on the calendar, whether it’s once a week, once a month or once every few months – the frequency is less important than the commitment to actually set time aside. Having something everyone has committed to on a regular basis helps make family connection a priority and keeps everyone accountable to achieve family connection goals together.
- Creative Strategies for Fun: It can be tough to keep little ones engaged on phone or video calls. One fun idea from The Long Distance Grandparent is to play silly game with a stickers while on a video chat. Simply place a sticker on your face and pretend it’s not there. Kids will find it hilarious as they try and direct you to where the sticker is located. For tweens and teens, the Long Distance Grandparent recommends meeting them where they are and getting them talking about their interests. This may mean doing a little advanced research on Taylor Swift or Fortnite, but the end result will be worth it!
- Keep It Short: Setting aside a huge chunk of time can be overwhelming schedule-wise and harder to keep younger generations engaged. Emphasize the quality of time spent chatting together over quantity and you will likely find your commitment easier to stick to and able to fit in more often.
Ideas for More Engaging Pre-Recorded Video and Voice Messages
In some situations, it may be too hard to find a common time to chat live. You could live in separate time zones or just have conflicting schedules. Luckily there are a ton of ways you can record your voice so your message can be listened to when it works best for all parties. Simply sending a quick voice note or video to say hello and let them know you’re thinking of them is a great option. But if you’d like to elevate your voice and video messages here are few creative ideas to try!
- Video Scavenger Hunt: Hop on Pinterest and find a video scavenger hunt to do as a group. Each person can take turns finding something on the list and sending it to each other. Make sure to use your voice to narrate what you’re seeing and add your own unique spin on the fun.
- Connect with Shared Interests: Showcase a hobby you love by recording a video tutorial. This would be great for a long-distance family looking to connect with a teen or tween. Maybe you both share a love a cooking. If so, record yourself making a family recipe and ask them to give it a try and send you a video back.
- Let Your Voice Bring Comfort: For little ones, try sending a voice recording of yourself singing a favorite song or lullaby they can play at bedtime. Not a fan of singing? Tell them a story about something you loved when you were little or a fond childhood memory.
- The Gift of Your Voice: Send a Make Momentos e-book or e-card. There are so many ways to use Make Momentos to enhance connection. A young reader can show off their reading skills by narrating an e-book or e-card for a long-distance grandparent or family member. A deployed parent can record themselves reading a bedtime story so that they can be a part of the bedtime process no matter where work takes them.
Staying close with loved ones doesn’t have to happen only during the holiday season. There are so many fun ways to build those connections all year long, just with the sound of your voice.
We’d love to hear how your family beats the post-holiday slump and keeps the connection strong. Share your ideas in the comments!