Today, there are more families separated by distance than ever before. Throw in a major pandemic, and suddenly connecting is even more difficult. Finding new ways to stay in touch has affected everyone, but perhaps the generation most affected are those over 60. As a result, many children have been unable to connect with their grandparents physically. However, this doesn’t have to mean that grandparents cannot still be a part of their grandkids’ lives. Instead, families are taking extra effort to keep the older and younger generation united.
The term virtual grandparenting – though not a new phrase – has become much more familiar. Here are some ideas for virtual grandparenting that families have implemented.
- Send each other care packages. Have the kids send craft projects, unique drawings or other goodies to the grans. Of course, encourage the grandparents to send care packages to the kids, too. Letters, homemade baked goods, items for more craft projects, etc. are all fun items for the kids to receive.
- Snail mail. Need a slightly less expensive option? Then why not send letters and postcards. Many online programs allow you to create custom stationery, cards and more using your images.
- Become computer savvy. Now is the time to become more adept at using the computer. Programs such as FaceTime, WhatsApp, Zoom, Google Hangouts and Skype are great places to start.
- Learn something new. Do you have a skill – embroidery, baking, magic tricks, etc. – you can teach your grandkids? Try one of the programs just listed to tutor the next generation of talent virtually.
- Play games. There is a long list of games that can be played online by multiple parties. From Checkers and Chess, to Scrabble, Wheel of Fortune and many other classic games, virtual gaming with your family is a great way to stay in touch. You can also play games such as charades, I Spy, Simon Says and others.
- Record messages. Videos are a great and fun way to receive a text from the family. Record the kids showing off their dance moves, practicing a new skill or whatever else that makes a grandparent smile and send it to them. If you prefer not to send it as text, you can always upload it to a shared folder like Google Drive or Dropbox.
- Video chat. Just because you can’t be physically in the same room doesn’t mean you can’t talk! Set up a video and have a Q&A session where everyone shares what they are doing, or perhaps grandparents can share family stories and pictures so that the next generation will know their family’s past. Some great apps for this are Hoot, ooVoo and Voxer.
- Learn family history. Especially for older kids, set up an account on Ancestry.com and work with the grandparents to grow the family tree and learn family history.
- Create a new bedtime ritual. Arrange a time with the grans to call and say goodnight. Grandparents might read a book, tell a story or share what everyone did that day.
- Learn a new language together. Whether you use an online resource or have a family member who already speaks another language, use this time to begin learning a new language. Tools like FaceTime, Google Hangouts and others mentioned above make this a great way to connect.
Virtual grandparenting is a great way to stay connected with your family. Why not try out a few of these ideas? We would love to hear about how you are staying in touch with your family.