The Case for ‘Caremongering’

What are you doing to keep your family healthy and sane during the COVID-19 pandemic?

At a time when we are being told to stay apart and keep our distance, we need each other more than ever. And that’s given rise to a number of inventive and resourceful ways to stay connected.

Some strategies we’ve heard about include aunts, uncles, cousins and friends who’ve decorated their cars, blared music, and held banners to wish a neighbour’s kid happy birthday with a parade driving past his house. There are people starting a neighbourhood Heart Hunt, where you put up a heart in your window so others can see and count how many hearts—and how much love—they can find when they’re out for a quick walk in their community. There are virtual play dates, FaceTiming not just those far-flung, but also friends just across the street, and bustin’ a move in the TikTok dance challenge and then posting the results online.

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So many people are doing such great things.

There’s the Victoria single mom, Chelsea Smith, who is taking portraits of people on their front porch as part of The Front Door Project, an idea started in the U.S. to help raise money for various organizations and charities. The photos are free of charge, but Smith asks those who can, to donate to the 1Up Victoria Single Parent Resource Centre. There’s the Facebook group (in communities across Vancouver Island) called COVID-19 Coming Together whose members reach out to others when they need or can offer help—everything from delivering groceries to teaching free online yoga classes.

What’s now being called “caremongering”—the antithesis of fearmongering—refers to the acts of kindness sparked by coronavirus. It began as a Facebook group in Toronto, Caremongering-TO, and has now steamrolled into a network of volunteers across Canada who are pooling their time and resources to help people during COVID-19. To find a group in your community, search “Caremongering Vancouver Island.”

In a time that requires solidarity, but insists on social distancing, it is it more important than ever, as David Remnick writes in the New Yorker, to establish some sense of connection.

That’s what we hope to accomplish with this issue. You’ll find the Social Distancing Survival Guide, filled with ideas on how to keep kids learning, reading, entertained and calm. There’s Island Health’s advice on Staying Healthy During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Music Amidst the Mayhem, and Ways to Cultivate Joy. You’ll also find Love in the Time of COVID-19 and Pandemic Parenting.

We hope you are all staying healthy, sane and connected with those you love. Thank you to our advertisers who continue to support our work supporting you, Vancouver Island families. Thank you to our writers, many of whom have young kids at home (or, like the Island Health nurses, are on the frontlines) and still continue to provide informative and engaging articles and stories. And thanks to you, the readers, who pick up or—in these challenging times when we’re social isolating—visit the Island Parent website and read the magazine online.

As the traditional African Ubuntu philosophy translates: “I am because we are.” Meaning, loosely, we cannot exist without each other; we need connection, caring and community. Especially now.

Sue Fast

Vancouver Island's Parenting Resource