I opened the computer to write this post, the topic of which I have been mulling over for a few days. Not surprisingly, I instantly lost focus as the screen lit up, and my surfing fingers reflexively navigated to the daily COVID numbers for our area, which have unfortunately been on the rise. Another headline caught my eye as I was ready to click away: Working families enlist grandparents to help with the kids. Further investigation revealed that my detour was a happy fault. The story meshes well with my recent thoughts.
The pandemic is changing much of what we once considered normal, grandparenting included. For some, COVID has brought separation from our family of families, either due to travel difficulties or personal health concerns. For others, closed schools and working parents have prompted grandparents to step into a more active childcare role. Either way, the question of connection is the same. How can we engage with and deepen relationships with our grandkids? And more importantly, how can we bring a sense of peace and security to them in these tricky times?
Now I am new to this grand role, so my thinking and experience has hovered round toddler issues. I’m looking forward to more seasoned grands adding to this conversation!
- Record yourself reading some children’s books. (Video would be best so they can see you and the illustrations!) Parents can use these stories to get a short break or as a screen treat or bedtime ritual.
- Reading stories in a live videochat is an obvious extension. There are clearly conversational and relational advantages to the live option, but recordings are convenient fast fixes for frazzled parents.
- To support faith formation, you can record simple prayers, tell saint stories, or even make some finger puppets or paper characters to retell some Bible stories. If you can carry a tune, record some beloved hymns.
- Play video peek-a-boo. Our grandkids think it is hysterical to see us pop in and out of the viewing area.
- Create discovery bags with odds and ends around your house. Here is one I made recently for our grandson. He especially focused on the candle! These bags can be easily modified for ages and specific interests.
- Get outside!!! Go for nature walks and spend time investigating God’s world – especially at the micro-level. I am amazed at how both our grandchildren will watch a bee, an ant, or a butterfly.
- Involve the children in a cooking or baking project. Even a toddler can lend a hand, and I find we grands are a little more lenient and willing to allow for the variables that may occur… Our 15 month old grandson recently helped me spice some homemade pizza. He loved handing me the spice jars and putting them back on the rack.
- Build a couch fort. This one is Gregory’s specialty!
I don’t know any unstressed parents of young children right now, do you? I’m sure that taking some pressure off their shoulders – even if it is brief and virtual – will be a tremendous blessing to them. Of course there is no question that the time will bless us as grandparents!!
Do you have any remote or in-person ideas for connecting with your family? Please let us know in the comments below. If you like what your reading, please click “like” and share.