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Social distancing and stay-at-home orders are taking their toll on all of us. We miss seeing our friends and family. We miss socializing, physical contact and the everyday interactions we used to take for granted.
I used to joke that going shopping was my social life. Without fail, I’d run into someone I knew every time I went to the supermarket. At times, I’d end up at the center of a group of three or four people who were all there at the same time. I really miss that!
But for those of you who are grandparents, particularly if your grandkids are still very young, there’s a whole other type of “missing” going on.
Children grow up so very fast. Whether you live far away or right up the road, you’re missing some of their biggest milestones. Birthdays. First steps. First words.
Will they even know who you are when you see them again?
There’s no real substitute for that hug and kiss, but there are ways that grandparents are keeping the relationships with their grandkids alive and well during this time.
3 methods for staying in touch
1. Snail mail. There’s still nothing like the thrill of getting a letter with your name on it. For young children, this is even more true.
A simple handwritten letter or card may be all that’s needed to keep you on your grandkids’ radar.
Here are a few more fun ideas:
- Write a story together. A quick Google search (or a search of your imagination!) will yield some creative story starters. For example, “There once was a little girl who found an enormous box waiting for her when she came home on her birthday. In the box…”
Write out the story starter on paper and mail it to your grandchild with instructions to add to the story and mail it back to you. Keep the story going for as long as the two of you wish.
Tip: Including a few sheets of paper and a self-addressed, stamped envelope will increase your chances of getting the story back!
- Create an add-on drawing. For younger children, or those more artistically inclined, send them a doodle or beginning of a drawing instead of a story. Including that self-addressed, stamped envelope is still a good idea!
- Send a care package. Your grandchildren are cooped up inside and need things to do. Consider sending a package with coloring books, crayons, card games or anything else you think they’d enjoy.
If you can’t get to a store for these items, order a new game or two online and have them sent directly to their home. Make it something the family can learn and enjoy together.
2. Technology. If you are hooked up to the internet and/or have a cellphone, you’ve got another means of keeping in touch at your disposal.
- Send texts. Checkin on how they’re doing. Send a photo if you know how.
- Use computer networking platforms like Zoom or Facetime. You’ll be able to talk face-to-face, read them a book and look at what they’ve been creating at home.
- Help with schoolwork. The parents of your school-age grandchildren will be eternally grateful if you can help them with their new home-schooling responsibilities by offering some homework help.
3. Fun and games. Host a movie night, start a book club, or play charades, all with Zoom or Facetime.
Flat Stanley. This wonderful book for elementary-aged children tells the adventures of Stanley Lambchop who, after having a bulletin board fall on him during the night, is only ½ an inch thick!
One of the great things about this is that he can now travel through the mail!
Get this book in your grandchild’s hands, then create a Flat Stanley of your own. You and your grandchild can mail him back and forth, telling about his grand adventures in each of your homes!