For many families with kids and those in their extended circle of family and friends, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge. There are fewer ways to visit and support parents when they need it the most. Friends of the VPL offer some suggestions below to connect through books to those “born digital.”
- Record Yourself Reading: Make an audio or visual recording of yourself reading an age-appropriate book. You can record it all at once or record “an episode” at regular intervals. This is easy to schedule and allows kids to decide how long they want to listen. You can even record a message just for them. This makes it extra special and creates a keepsake for them and maybe even their kids!
- Form a Book Club: Get a copy of the same book for both of you by borrowing one from the library. If fines are a concern for parents and you can afford it, you can buy them a copy.
- For younger kids, meet up to read together by reading them a picture book or having them read to you. Think outside the box! It could even be a “Where’s Waldo” or “I Spy” book.
- For older kids, read a book together and “meet” by phone or video to discuss the book. Pick the book together to make sure they’re interested. Some of the best novels of the decade are YA, so expect an exciting read. If you’re worried the book may not be age-appropriate, check online reviews before you commit.
- Craft Together: Find out if they’re interested in doing crafts. It can be as simple as practicing drawing. Help them figure out how to get started by pointing them to books, sending supplies or giving them a tutorial (or get a friend who knows what they are doing to do a tutorial for both of you). Give it a try and share what you’ve created. You can even craft alongside one another so you’re there to help with any hiccups.
- Cook Together: Send them a photo of your favourite recipes and make it together. Start with easy, tasty recipes like cookies or a no-bake treat.
- Exchange Comics or Stories: Send them a story or comic you wrote, then ask for one back! Younger kids will probably enjoy this more.
Things to Think About:
- Talk to Parents First: Make sure the activities and books you are considering are right for their kid. How often are they and their kid(s) available? Are they looking for things to do or feeling overwhelmed?
- Think about Screen Time: Does this need to be a video chat? Some kids are feeling “zoomed out” and may not want to video chat. Maybe a letter or phone call would be a better way to share a book.
- Be Internet Safe: Ask parents about their rules for internet use and follow them. You may not be a stranger, but it’s important to stick to boundaries parents set. Rules might be no computers in bedrooms or chatting when parents aren’t home. If you respect these boundaries, kids will notice when others try to push them. Check out the Canada Safety Council’s online safety rules for kids to learn more.
This is just some ways books can keep everyone together, even when we are apart.