Last January was the first reported case of covid in the United States. Since that time, our world has all turned upside down. Nowadays it's second nature to wear a mask, have sanitizer on hand, and take extra precautions. We are all getting used to living during a pandemic. What I don't like and I know many of you share the same sentiment is not being able to freely see the ones who have our hearts: our grandchildren!
We all are spending more time on Skype, Zoom, FaceTime and Google Duo talking with our families and grandchildren. I have one 3 1/2 year old grandchild that lives in California - 1,070 miles away from my home in Colorado. Before the pandemic, we would often visit or my son and his family would visit us every 6-8 weeks. It's easy to engage with our young grandchildren face-to-face and honestly over FaceTime, she doesn't want to talk for hours on end like her Gigi would want. Therefore, I have found ways to engage with her via technology that we both enjoy.
10 ways to make virtual time with your grandchild more meaningful and fun!
Memory Game - put items on a tray (i.e., card, stuffed animal, toy, book, utensil, etc.). Then take one away and ask them what is missing. You can play this for a while and if they're having trouble guessing what you took away - give them hints. My granddaughters love to give me hints and visa versa.
Cook or bake together - often times, I'll Face Time with my granddaughter while she is helping her mommy bake and she tells me what she's doing. I'll also do the same with her while I'm cooking something and we talk about what we're making.
Scavenger Hunt - Kids love showing people things on zoom. Why not send them on a scavenger hunt. Go find: a bunny, an art project that you made, an eraser, a certain color crayon, etc. Along the same theme, you can also play "I spy" and take turns giving clues on what you see behind them and visa versa.
Yoga - you can screen share and do yoga together. Here's a link to some free kids yoga classes from Awake & Mindful. I hope to do these with my granddaughter during one of our Zoom conversations. There are videos that range from 15 -30 minutes long. Perfect time to hold their attention and get some exercise together.
Show & tell - show and tell them what's going on outside where you live. If you live where it 's cold, show them the snow. If you are gardening, take them outside with you and show them what you have planted. Talk about the beauty that surrounds us.
Send weekly letters to your grandchild. Every child loves to receive mail and they will quickly recognize your handwriting. In this world of technology, how refreshing will it be for your grandchild to open something from their grandma. I remember the feeling I got when I eagerly checked my mailbox when I was a young girl for cards or letters. When we post a new printable on our website, I print it off and send to my grandchildren with a personalized note. Once a month, I try to mail a package to her with crafts, a note and a special treat. They will also recognize your handwriting and know exactly who the letter/package is from.
Draw together - On my last visit to see her in California, I bought her a special coloring book with glitter pens. She had so much fun coloring with the sparkly pens and so did Gigi that I bought a set for my house. We both love to color together and just enjoy being present together. I recently found an article by Parents.com that gives links to 8 free virtual drawing classes that your grandchild might be interested in taking. The classes offered range in age.
Play games together - Here's a link to 12 super fun zoom games to play with kids - ranging in ages as well.
Read together - This one I love to do with my granddaughter because she loves books and if I close my eyes, I can envision myself snuggling with her in her bed and reading together. These days, I'm confident, will come again soon! If you have amazon prime, you can download some free ebooks and next time you're skyping or on zoom together, share your screen. I can't wait to try this together in the next day or so. In the past, I've read her stories and held the book up and read the book to her. I think this might be a better way to do this as we can visit face to face and then when we go into storytime, I'll share my screen. She also takes turns with me and reads her books to me as well. If you didn't read the blog post about making a recordable storybook for your grandchild, check it out here. A recordable storybook will be one that they will treasure.
So you see there are many ways to still stay connected with our grandchildren until we can physically see them again.
What Children Can Receive from Their Relationships with Grandparents
A close relationship benefits the health and well-being of both grandparent and grandchild. For grandchildren, the biggest gift of this all-important bond is the endless supply of love, acceptance, patience and unwavering support that grandparents uniquely have to offer. In healthy relationships, grandkids can find in their grandparents a safe harbor—someone they trust and know is always on their side. This extra layer of support can have lasting positive effects on the child’s emotional well-being.
Taken from an article in hartford.com