During this time of year, we usually gather with family and friends. But this year looks a little different. If you’re having an online family gathering this year, here are some of our best tips for a successful virtual family reunion.
Get on the Same Page
Our first tip is to make sure the whole family is on the same page. Before you start your virtual reunion, have some conversations with your family and set clear expectations for the reunion. For example, get on the same page about:
- The meeting start time
- The meeting ending time
- The schedule for the event
- What items each family member will need to have on hand
- What foods you’ll bring to “share” together
If you plan any activities or games, make sure you let everyone know ahead of time, so they’ll have time to get a pen and paper, or any other items they might need to make the reunion a success.
Test It Out
To avoid stress and frustration on the day of the meeting, you can have a test meeting a few days before the reunion. This could be with one person from each household that will be signing in. Having a quick test will help you work out any technical issues before the event. You can also have a quick tutorial for family members who might not know how to sign in, turn their camera on or off, or unmute their mic.
Having a test meeting will let you start your virtual family reunion without any technical glitches, and get right to the fun.
Take Your Traditions Online
Some traditions might be hard to do online, but you can still find a way to keep your family traditions alive. Plan what you’ll do ahead of time and ask for help. Certain family members can be responsible for organizing different traditions, or preparing in advance to take your traditions online. With a few small adjustments, many of your traditions can still happen during your virtual family reunion.
A big part of family reunions is the food. If your family loves bringing dishes to holiday gatherings, you can incorporate that into your virtual reunion. Challenge your family to create unique dishes around a certain theme, and show off the creations during the virtual meeting.
Turn Off the Music
Part of your holiday traditions might be a special soundtrack, but background noise will make it hard to hear during virtual family reunions. If you have some songs that are important to your family, set aside part of the gathering to listen to these songs together. During the rest of the event, ask everyone to turn off any music or background noise so that you can have a successful virtual family reunion.
Do you have family members with hearing loss? There are a few ways you can include them in your virtual reunion. These communication tips will help your loved ones hear clearly online:
- Turn on closed captioning so that family members with hearing loss can read what’s being said.
- Ask family members to take turns speaking. Talking over each other makes it hard for everyone to hear, so make sure your family agrees to speak one at a time.
- Encourage the family to use a large screen to join the meeting. Using your computer instead of your smartphone makes it easier to see everyone, and follow what’s being said.
- Make sure each screen is set up in a place with good lighting. Bright lighting makes it easier to see everyone’s faces, notice facial expressions, and pick up on non-verbal cues.
- Ask your family to set up the screen and leave it in place. When the screen is constantly moving, or being passed from person to person, it’s much harder to follow the conversation.
- It’s fun to use festive backgrounds, but these can make it harder for your family member with hearing loss to follow conversations. The backgrounds can glitch or flash on and off, and this distraction makes it harder to focus on understanding the words.
Treat Your Hearing Loss!
If you have a hearing loss, visit us before your virtual family reunion. We’ll help you find the perfect hearing aids to help you hear every word during your online celebration!