If you were used to regular visits from your grandchildren, lockdown might make you feel separated from them. Probably in a way you’d never imagined either. Thankfully, there are ways and means of staying in touch with your grandchildren during lockdown.
Video apps are great as they allow you to see, not just speak to, the other person. Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime and Facebook Messenger all allow for video calls. This can be particularly beneficial if your grandchildren are so small they don’t speak much—or at all—on the phone. It also lends a certain level of intimacy that you do not get through a regular phone call.
Schedule regular calls to ensure that you get to see the little ones as often as you’re used to. You might want to ask their parents about when the best time to call is. If their parents are busy working from home, chances are they are stressed at certain hours of the day. A call from you might help by keeping the children occupied, or require involvement from the parents, which is difficult at that particular hour. Together you can agree on calling times that work for everyone. Of course, an unexpected call here and there can also add to the fun!
Doing things over video
If you buy one book for you and one for your grandchild, you can read to them together over video. You can also buy a book and show them the images on the screen. The Book Depository offers free shipping and Amazon has a massive online book offering as well. Or, why not both get the app Scribd or Kindle? You can enjoy lots of different reads for a monthly fee, and if you read aloud, your grandchild can follow along.
Likewise, you can play some board games over video if you both own the same game. Games like charades are also possible to play over video. You can even watch the same movie on Netflix by one of you allowing for screen share on apps where that’s possible, such as Skype or Zoom.
You can even do things like cooking at the same time, planting new seeds, or drawing over video. You may not be able to help one another out with the various tasks, but you can share those moments nonetheless!
There are online games that allow for multiple players. If your grandchildren enjoy some of those games, now might be the time for you to try them out!
You will also find online puzzles you can build together.
Send some love
In the age of digital, most people don’t get a lot of letters. So why not write some to your grandchildren? You can include photos, drawings, recipes, magazine cut-outs and whatever else that might make it more fun to read. You can also send coded messages they have to decipher.
Of course, you can also send baked goodies (be sure in times of Covid-19 that the parents either keep it for two days or heat it before eating). You can also put together the ingredients for a cake and the recipe, and let your grandchildren bake it as you’re instructing them over Skype.
You can even send presents. Parents usually welcome educational toys, along with arts and crafts and science projects. Especially if they stay at home full-time with their children during lockdown—chances are they are always trying to entertain their children. And bear that in mind—it needs to be entertaining, or your grandchild is unlikely to engage with it. No matter how good it would be for their grades to do so!
Try Moment Garden
Moment Garden is an app that allows parents to create a digital garden where they post updates about the child. Only invited people can see the updates that they can then comment on and interact with in other ways. It’s much more private than Facebook or Instagram.
As tempting as it may be to sulk (quite like a three-year-old) about Covid-19 and the accompanying lockdowns, try to see the bright side. Not least because your child (or children) and grandchildren will be more prone to wanting to spend time with you if you’re happy. In fact, your joy might help them get through lockdown!
Yes, we have ended up in a situation that has caused new levels of loneliness and isolation. However, as mentioned above, there are ways to overcome this. Ways that might even strengthen our bond with others if done right.
It's also essential for your own health and happiness that your life at large is filled with activities besides your grandchildren. Now’s the time to start exercising—spending time with others, two meters apart, while walking in the great outdoors. And, when at home, exercising using online videos.
It’s the time to use online classes to learn new skills, or simply how to cook a new recipe. Use online forums to find new friends. Start writing letters and making phone calls to old friends. Read blogs to make new acquaintances. Start an online business on Etsy, selling something homemade. Join an organisation that is now hosting online meetings. Adopt a pet.
Yes, Covid-19 has forced us to rethink many things, and some things are more difficult than they used to be. However, our “rethinking” of things may very well lead to something great in the end.
For more tips about ridding yourself of negativity surrounding long-distance grand-parenting, check out this letter from a grandma. Be sure to read the comment section, too!
Isolation might be hard on everyone, but it doesn’t have to separate you from your grandchildren. Follow the above tips, and you might find you're even closer to them after lockdown is over.