The holiday season is a time we all look forward to being together. It is a time to reconnect, spend some time enjoying each other’s company, and perhaps forget about the realities of the world. For many families in the Delft MaMa community, however, this will be the second season spent apart due to the constraints of the pandemic. The importance of being together, across space and time, is what inspired the creation of Peekabond – a video messenger to connect families using science-based play activities. Designed for families with young children, to feel connected to loved ones.
I am Anieke Lamers, the founder of Peekabond. I was inspired to create Peekabond after I became a long-distance auntie myself. Previously, I discovered first-hand how hard it was to build a bond with my niece remotely. After talking to hundreds of parents and family members, I found out many had the same struggle. That is when I decided to build Peekabond, for me and all those other families.
So, if your family keeps asking, “What should we give your little one(s) as a present this year?” Then, look no further because I have some great tips for you!
A time for families
For the upcoming holiday season, Peekabond has a couple of special holiday activities prepared in the app, but I also have the following ideas to share for anyone who is looking for special holiday gifts and for getting the togetherness from a distance.
Tip 1: Personalized YOUR presents
Personalized presents (with names, pictures or videos) can be stimulating to build a bond and feel together from a distance. Find the best examples from the past years below.
1. The simple tip is to make “Elf yourself” (JibJab) video e-card with your faces (or use other apps like ReFace to “face swap” your pictures) for this. I just made this funny e-card with reindeer for my remote team and the kids in my family absolutely love these gimmick tools.
2. Print a picture of you or your child on a pillow, mug, or any other object (see example picture below). Personally I like the pillow the most because you can use it to actually give the other person a hug this Christmas when you are video calling, because you can use it as a “stand-in” for a cuddle. Just say to the grandparents or loved ones of your child, “Since I cannot give you a cuddle this holiday period, I will give this pillow a big hug!”
3. The tip that is suitable for younger kids is to print a name of a stuffed animal. For instance, I ordered one here. During family video calls you can also be creative with the stuffed animal, such as play-pretending that you both have a “magical stuffed animal” (or an Elf, or a reindeer) that can transfer the hugs. Remember that it might seem silly to you, but kids will probably like it.
4. Print pictures of the entire family and make a family (Christmas) tree on a wall in the house of your child. There are some tree wall stickers you can use. Otherwise, you can simply draw your own if you are in a creative mood. You can play a game to practice the names of family members in the tree, too!
5. As an advanced tip, I made a printed photo album for my little niece. It includes all the print screens I made of the times we video called. Not sure how to make a print screen of your video call? Read these Android phone instructions or these IOS instructions. Also see an example of a screenshot from my phone below.
Tip 2: It takes two, baby!
Have family members buy a simple present (like a bubble blowing toy, or a funny Rudolph nose or pyjama) for both the child and themselves. Hence, they can wear or play it together whilst video calling. By doing this, you can all feel together despite the distance.
For example, I bought bunny ears during the Easter holiday period to draw my nieces’ attention during a video call. You can find funny Rudolph or Elf ears around this time of the year.
Tip 3: Get creative with your family by getting together at a distance
Ask your family to get creative and share something with your child. Here are some examples:
- Write a thoughtful letter addressed to your child.
- Sing a song. I wrote, recorded, and sang a lullaby for my little niece at a distance. Otherwise, ask them to lipsync a cute Christmas tune to your kids.
- Share a family recipe to cook and show a picture of the result. One grandmother would bake cookies together with her grandson at a distance (same recipe, different time zones).
- For more advanced activity, you can create your own children’s book. My stepdad made it a habit to create a simple personalized children’s book for every grandchild. Alternatively, Wonderbly is an alternative if you are looking for something less advanced. Some of the grandparents I spoke to liked to order a physical book twice: one for the grandparent and one for the grandchild. I even heard of a grandmother who created her own board game twice to play with her grandchild at a distance.
- A home-made scavenger hunt or a mystery riddle to find a hidden treasure with holiday presents in the child’s house.
About Peekabond: an app to feel together with families at a distance
Peekabond is an app designed for families with young children, to feel connected to loved ones. Using technology as a source for good, it helps strengthen real-life relationships. Founded in 2021, Peekabond is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It is an impact-driven company with team members around the world. Peekabond prides itself on a diverse team, with expertise in child development science, design, gamification, and technology. For more information, check out the website, write an email, watch the demo or download the app directly. Also follow Peekabond on Facebook, Instagram or Linkedin!
Peekabond’s Play Session with Delft Mama
Peekabond will host a Play Session entitled “How to Build a Bond with Children Remotely.” The event will be held on February 17th, 2022 at 8 PM CET. This Play Session is specifically suitable for moms or family members of young children, but everyone (including dads, aunts/uncles, grandparents) is welcome to come and play along. You can sign up here for this Play Session. I will explain a bit of the science behind developing social emotional bonds and remote family bonding. However, most of the event will be focused on fun, playful exercises to create bonding moments.