Four in five parents say their kids are going through milestone moments during quarantine and are heartbroken their loved ones can't be around for them, new research found.
A study of 2,000 Americans with children 0-6 examined how parents are attempting to keep up a family connection with relatives as their kids grow up before their eyes.
Two-thirds (67%) are reluctantly maintaining their social distance from loved ones during COVID-19.
Nearly half of respondents said this is the longest they've ever gone without seeing a single extended family member in person.
Forty-five percent estimate their children will go the rest of the year without spending in-person quality time with an extended family member.
The survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of the photo-sharing app FamilyAlbum revealed the most common people kids are having to go without physically seeing are grandmothers and grandfathers (both 42%), aunts and uncles (35%) and cousins (32%).
Parents lament children are passing exciting key milestones with nobody around to witness them.
Seventeen percent have seen their child's first steps without loved ones present.
One in five (19%) said their first word and 18% learned to roll over all on their own, while 39% have celebrated a birthday.
Other key moments parents have witnessed their children achieve since March were learning the alphabet or learning to read, while some mastered how to ride a bike or scooter.
Parents are thinking of new ways to celebrate these exciting accomplishments without their loved ones.
One in two immediately took to video calls to share the big news and 46% tried to make as big a deal as they could with just the family at home.
Eighty-three percent have sent photos or videos of milestone moments to loved ones.
A spokesperson for FamilyAlbum said, "The study showed that parents want to celebrate their children's milestones with extended family, and while the pandemic has prevented them from doing that in person, that hasn't stopped families from connecting in new ways. Celebrating life's milestones and sharing everyday moments are more important than ever to keep people's spirits up."
Although they haven't seen them in person in ages, almost seven in ten (69%) say they're keeping in touch with extended family in the pandemic now more than ever.
Two in three admitted it's taken some real ingenuity to keep their family feeling connected emotionally.
Three in five parents said they started video calling relatives during the pandemic as a new way to stay in touch.
Forty-five percent have kicked started family-wide group texts and a quarter are playing mobile games since an in-person game night isn't an option.
Over half of respondents are keeping in touch with family via phone calls and video chats more than ever before. And three in five parents are sharing more photos and videos with family members than ever before, a larger increase than both phone calls and video chatting.
In terms of convenience, the three preferred ways to keep loved ones updated were phone calls, video chats, and sharing photos/videos.
For those who like to share photos and videos, it 40% said it was because they could share little moments that loved ones might not otherwise see, and 39% thought photo/video-sharing was a quick way to keep everyone updated.
The spokesperson for FamilyAlbum added, "This study emphasized the importance of sharing photos not only to keep loved ones updated but also to connect the more isolated family members with their beloved relatives. According to this research, one in five parents are using FamilyAlbum as a tool to bring moments to loved ones even when they can't be together in person."