As many of us know (all too well), Covid-19 and its resulting lockdowns have had a huge impact on our family dynamics this year. With hospitality, leisure and even playdates off the cards for many of us, we’ve had to get creative and find new ways to adapt.
But one of the biggest challenges that we’ve had to face this year has been the restrictions on social mixing, particularly with family. We’ve not been able to connect with our loved ones as much as we’d like, which has been particularly difficult when it comes to our children and their grandparents.
Thankfully there are now some measures in place to help us keep in contact with grandparents, such as childcare bubbles and support bubbles. However, we know that those who are older may still want to take further measures to maintain their health and safety, and therefore might want to hold off on family reunions until after the New Year.
Fortunately, there are still several great ways to keep in touch with grandparents, and in particular help our kids to connect with them so that we all feel a bit less isolated. Here are some of our top tips on how to keep grandparent loneliness at bay:
1. Enlist their help with bedtime stories
We know, we know – bedtimes can be stressful enough, without adding something new into the mix. But setting up a Skype session and letting Grandpa deliver his unique rendition of The Gruffalo is a surprisingly easy (and incredibly sweet) way to keep your kids in touch with their grandparents.
Not only does it break up the routine and give the kids a new take on their classic stories, it’s also immensely rewarding for grandparents who may be missing out on their usual quality time with the grandchildren. Think Audible but without the monthly fees (and with some goodnight kisses thrown in for good measure)!
2. Beat the weekend lull
Although we’ve just come out of lockdown, many of us are still living in areas with tight restrictions on what can and can’t open. If you’re struggling to think of ways to keep the kids busy over the weekends (particularly after 4pm when it’s pitch black outside), why not schedule a weekly call with the grandparents?
You can get the kids to catch them up on everything they’ve been up to during the week, and as a bonus you can sit back with a cup of coffee and get some respite while your children blow off steam!
3. Send them a good old-fashioned letter or care package
We can all agree that technology has been a saving grace this year – we’ve found new ways to connect with each other when other options weren’t available to us. But there’s also something special about receiving a physical letter or care package, and it’s guaranteed to make any grandparent’s day.
It could be as simple as getting your kids to write a letter or postcard to their grandparents so that they can hang it up on their fridge. Alternatively, if you want to go all-out and treat them after a tough year, you could get the kids to help create and send a care package to Granny and Grandpa – including their favourite treats, drawings by your kids or anything else to remind them that you’re thinking about them.
4. Schedule a remote playdate with the grandparents
You don’t have to go old-school ‘Zoom quiz’; there are plenty of options for online activities that grandparents can do with kids. Online scrabble, a lockdown concert or virtual bake-along are all great ideas to keep everyone entertained (although that last one might require some clean-up afterwards).
5. Remind them that this is only temporary
With good news about potential vaccines on the horizon, things are starting to look up compared to the start of the pandemic. However, we all know that short winter days and a lack of things to do can make this time of year a little tough, so it’s important to remind one another that we’ll all be able to spend time with each other again soon.
As hard as it’s been not seeing each other this year, that first hug when we’re able to meet up again will make it all worth it!