This will be an unusual Mother’s Day for many mums and their children.

No large family gatherings, no hugs, self-isolation for some families, and the shadow of coronavirus looming large over the day.

It means families are dealing with a huge range of emotions, says our member Cate Campbell.

But there are things they can do together on Sunday to maintain strong relationships and mark the day – even if they are physically far apart.

“Many mums and their children will have been really looking forward to Mother’s Day, especially if they haven’t met since Christmas,” says Cate.

“The effect of Covid-19 is not just that they can’t meet but also that they’re worried about one another, perhaps wondering if they’ll ever meet again.

“They’re consequently dealing with a huge range of emotions, with disappointment and anxiety perhaps competing for top spot.”

Express your feelings

“It’s important for everyone to talk about how they’re feeling and be able to express their disappointment and sadness at being apart. Knowing you feel the same way is often much more comforting all round than a stoic approach which can sometimes seem as though you’re not bothered,” says Cate.

Help children understand

Young children may also find it difficult to understand why they can’t visit or fear that their grandmothers are already ill, so it’s helpful if you can organise video messaging for them to see for themselves that all is well,” Cate adds

Make the day special

“You can still mark the day and make it special for you all,” Cate says.

“These days you can get anything delivered, from cards to cakes, but it’s great to do something personal, especially if the whole family can be involved.”

Get creative

“Both grandchildren and grans may really enjoy making and receiving film and photos or what you’ve been doing this week, and children may have fun making frames for photos or cards to send.

“They may also enjoy creating scrapbooks or albums. You could even put an IOU for future activities into a beautiful frame or envelope or help children to create a whole album of wishes and IOUs for future activities.

“Some of these could involve favours from Gran, such as using video messaging to teach children to garden, sew or knit or reading to them.”

Regular activities

“You may want to promise some regular activities during the period of self-isolation, such as regular phone calls or digital messaging, weekly family films or regular letters and cards to look forward to,” says Cate.

Virtual family meal or shared activity

“On Mothers Day itself, you could arrange to eat at the same time and message while you do, so that you don’t miss out on sharing a family meal,” suggests Cate.

“You could watch the same TV programme or film and, if your mum uses social media, you could message about the programme while you’re watching.  The Netflix Party extension specifically allows people who are separated to watch and chat together too.

“Your mum may also enjoy playing games and quizzes with you or the children, either online or made up. A great game for Sunday would be a quiz about your mum, allowing her to share stories and anecdotes.”

Ask your mum what she wants to do

“Don’t forget that your mother may have some good ideas about ways she would like to mark the day, so do ask her rather than just feeling under pressure to make the day special,” concludes Cate.

To find a counsellor or psychotherapist who can help you with family relationships visit our Therapist Directory.