The greatest gift children give their parents is a new life to celebrate. Grandparents will do anything for their grandchild, whether it means moving to new country, rock climbing, or researching whatever their grandchild is interested in. Before the pandemic, there were no limits on what grandma would do for her grandchildren. However, all of that changed with COVID-19. The virus stopped life as we know it and, because the virus seems particularly dangerous for older people, many grandparents have not been able to spend time with their grandchildren since February 2020.
The virus may have changed our lives, but a grandparent’s love is much greater than COVID-19. Grandparents still want to support their children, see their grandbabies, and continue being an integral part of their lives. Children need to know their grandparents are close to their heart even though they may not be able to see them. If you are a grandparent, you are an important part of your family’s survival. Don’t let social distancing limit your emotional closeness. There are many ways you can stay connected and help support your child and your grandchild. Here are some suggestions for staying connected to your grandchildren and their parents during COVID-19.
1. Try FaceTime, Skype, or ask your child to set up Marco Polo with you. It is easy to do, and you can send your grandchild short, fun videos throughout the day.
2. Daily video chats. Ask to video chat at a specific time each day and go through your child’s spelling list or play a card game. If you set up a regular time, it will be a mini break for your son or daughter and help your grandchild feel secure in a routine.
3. If you live close by, offer to make dinner. Making dinner or your grandchild’s favorite dessert and dropping it off at their door is a great act of love. You can plan to eat together in separate homes via FaceTime.
4. Plan an after COVID-19 party. Kids love celebrations and parties, and you can plan decorations, food, and activities over the phone. Planning for the future gives children hopes and something to look forward to.
5. Make a weekly or bi-monthly book drop. Kids love reading, so make this time one of instilling resilience and hope for them. Find books that are age appropriate that teach lessons of hope, resilience, and compassion.
The pandemic has changed so many things, but it should never change your love and determination to stay involved with your grandchildren. Grandparents have weathered bad times before and this is comforting when times are uncertain and life gets scary. Share your wisdom and lead by example. Children who grow up knowing and feeling loved by their grandparents are the luckiest children of all.