How To Stay Connected With Grandparents During COVID-19
For so many families, the loss of quality time with beloved grandparents has been a tough casualty of the pandemic.
It can be scary and isolating for grandparents, who are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19. It’s also heartbreaking for the grandkids, who are missing loved ones and may not fully understand the situation. And it’s stressful for you as the parent, since you’re feeling all the feels from both sides!
Finding ways to stay connected during this time of physical distancing is a challenge, but we’ve got some creative ways to help maintain that irreplaceable grandparent/grandchild bond. Check ‘em out below!
Play “Coke or Pepsi?”
It’s pretty crazy how quickly kids grow and cycle through different phases. To help grandparents stay up-to-date with their likes and dislikes, try a fun game of “Coke or Pepsi?” on the phone or through a video app. Kids of all ages will love answering these either-or questions. Here’s a few examples:
- Telepathy or ability to fly?
- Pancakes or waffles?
- Cats or dogs?
- Beach or mountains?
- Waterpark or amusement park?
- Grandma’s cookies or Grandpa’s pies?
Collage + Bucket List
If your kids are aching for their grandparents, why not take a trip down memory lane? When you look through photos and reminisce on happy memories, it can ease the pain and bring back the smiles. You can even encourage the kiddos to pick their favorites and make a collage.
Or, to get excited about the future, have a family brainstorm to consider fun things to do with the grandparents when it’s safe. Maybe it’s a trip to the zoo, or simply baking cookies together. You can either write your list or create another collage using pictures from magazines as inspiration.
Virtual Story Time
Whether it’s a mid-day routine or a nightly ritual, reading a book together via FaceTime or Zoom encourages a love of reading and keeps everyone connected. It provides something to look forward to, whether it’s finishing the chapter or uncovering the whodunit.
If your kids are in the “read it again” stage, a recording of their grandparents reading (rather than a live version) is a sweet surprise sure to satisfy their requests.
Swap Seeds or Plants
Bringing the outdoors inside is incredibly therapeutic and helps us feel connected to nature. And when you do a plant swap, it can also help you feel connected to family! Have your child pick out a plant or flowers for their grandparent, and vice versa. Or, if you have a long-distance relationship, mail seeds instead.
Hold weekly updates on the growing plants; you can even name them. To take it one step further and deepen your little one’s appreciation for nature, consider growing veggies or a small garden.
Connect With Music
Music is the ultimate connector across generations. Have your child create a playlist or CD for their grandparents. Include songs they both love, or songs they’d like to introduce them to (and vice versa). You can also create a shared family playlist where everyone is able to collaborate. Listening to the playlist will lift everyone’s spirits and ease loneliness.
Become Pen Pals
The timing has never been better to introduce the kids to the old-fashioned art of letter writing. Grandparents will truly cherish a hand-written note or picture, and your child’s writing skills and vocabulary will get a boost too.
To really wow the grandparents, consider the idea of “mailing a hug” from Happiestbaby.com. Here’s how:
“You’ll need a long piece of paper, so either roll out some butcher paper, or cut apart a paper grocery bag and unfold it. Have your kids lay on the paper with their arms spread out and trace them. Then, ask your kids to color in their traced-out body. You’ll end up with a fun piece of art that can be rolled up and mailed to your child’s grandparents with a sweet note explaining that this is a long-distance hug.”
If your child is shy or tends to clam up on the phone, have them conduct “an interview.” You can even challenge them to find out something you don’t know about your own parents or in-laws. Their inner investigator will shine, and they’ll likely be surprised by just how interesting their grandparents really are.
Beyond getting an unrivaled history lesson, they may be inspired by their grandparents’ resilience as they recount tough times of their own. Looking back on the interview will be priceless in the future, so record it if you can!
Cook Together Virtually
Is your child missing their grandparents’ famous dishes? Now is the perfect time to introduce them to the recipe! Use FaceTime or Zoom to conduct a “cooking show” where grandparents lead them through the steps. While the kids whip up that hand-me-down dish, they can also hear new stories about their ancestors or the recipe’s origins. They’ll gain a deeper appreciation for both cooking and your family heritage!
For more family-friendly tips, check out the CA Parents’ Corner blog.
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