Digital Check-Ins to Keep Connected
The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us how many people we depend on to support us—or how many people we may support—in so many practical ways. It’s hard to get almost anything done without other “essential workers!”
Closer to home, everyone in a family supports each other in the ways we help each other work to accomplish goals that are important to us. We may do this by offering practical help, building each other’s confidence, standing up for each other, and keeping each other on track. It’s also important to support each other in reaching goals, not taking over and doing it for them. That may feel good at first, but in the long run it can take away their own sense of confidence that they can do it on their own.
With other family members, take the Provide Support Quiz, which you’ll find in the Check It tab on the Provide Support page on www.KeepConnected.info. As many people can complete the quiz as you’d like. Then compare your results with each other for a lively discussion.
These activities invite your family to explore what it means to challenge growth with each other. If you want more activities or more detailed instructions, go to Provide Support on KeepConnected.info. Click on the gray bars, and you’ll find several activities on each topic.
Guide me through hard situations and systems.
Overcoming Obstacles, Video-Game Style
Many video games involve overcoming obstacles to achieve a goal. As a family, play an electronic or board game that involves overcoming obstacles. Afterwards, talk about how the game works. What strategies did different people try? What keeps you motivated to keep playing? Now think of goals you have as a family. Brainstorm parallels between overcoming barriers in games and pursuing family goals. What motivates you to work toward these goal? What obstacles get in the way? How you can help each other navigate barriers?
Build my confidence to take charge of my life.
Role Models Who Build Our Confidence
It can be easier to imagine ourselves achieving our goals or dreams when people we know or who are like us inspire us by their accomplishments. Give each family member a blank sheet of paper. Have each person draw two picture frames of two people they see as role models. Next to each portrait write or draw things this person says or does that you admire and want to learn from. Now talk together about people in your own family. What do you say and do for each other that you admire? Think of things that each family member does that inspires other to grow and be their best.
Stand up for me when I need it.
I Have Your Back
Advocacy involves the big and little ways you stick up for each other. Discuss with your family members what advocacy means for your family.
On a sheet of paper, have family members work separately and write down the places where either they advocate for other family members or other family members advocate for them. Share each other’s ideas and group similar ideas together. Ask family members if there are any other places where family members spend time that they wish someone would advocate for them, but aren’t.
As a family, sort ideas on a table based on how much advocacy is needed in each place. For example, the place that requires the most advocacy would be on the right and the place that requires the least advocacy would be on the left. Talk about the kinds of advocacy support that family members need on both ends of the continuum.
4. Set Boundaries
Put in place limits that keep me on track.
Adjusting as We Grow
Tape together several sheets of paper to create a long, skinny banner you can use as a timeline. Draw a line down the center, and put a label for each age of children in the family. Give each child a different color marker. Write down different years when you remember setting and adjusting rules as each child has grown up.
For example, some families say “no TV until age 2” or “all homework done before video games.” After you’ve filled the timeline together, talk about these questions: What patterns do you see? Did anything surprise you as you created your list? Have there been ages when a lot of limits have shifted at the same time? What have you done to make sure that your family’s limits are clear, fair, and consistent? Are there areas where this has been hard? What might help?
Try these discussion-starter questions with your family.
Family Conversation Starters
- Think about a recent time you were struggling with a challenge. What are some ways family members helped you?
- Who can we ask for help as a family if we need it? How would we ask them?
- Who do you know who may have been more directly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic through an infection, job loss, or quarantine? How might you and your family support or advocate for them during this difficult time?
- Who is someone you admire who really encourages you to pursue your goals? What do they do that really matters for you?
- What do you most appreciate people doing to support you when you’re working toward a goal?
- What do other people do that builds your confidence when you’re working on important tasks or goals?
- When has someone stood up for you and helped you get what you needed? How did you feel after they helped you with that?
- How does setting limits or boundaries help us stay focused on our tasks or goals?
- When have people tried to help you or support you when you didn’t really want it? How did you deal with that? What might you do next time?