“Grandparent” is inarguably one of life’s greatest titles. Grandparents are known to give unconditional love, offer a sense of connection and tradition, all while avoiding the serious aspects of parenting. Whether grandchildren are close or far away, COVID has changed the way we bond with them. Here are helpful tips to remain in touch and continue to be in the lives of grandchildren wherever they live.
Use Face Time, Marco Polo, or similar technology to communicate on a regular basis. Interactions are more tangible when being able to see each other’s faces, especially for younger grandchildren, and help strengthen the bond you build. Short but frequent visits have fewer restrictions and feel less like a heavy commitment. Ask pointed questions to keep the conversation flowing. Instead of asking “How are you doing?”, ask about a specific topic, such as “Did you have anything different at lunch today?”. Engaging conversations are created easily when questions are asked about each other and then answered.
Establish Special Traditions
Traditions created with grandchildren are remembered forever. Perhaps having breakfast together every Sunday morning, even virtually, would be enjoyable, especially if at an opportune time for just the two (or more) of you to catch up on what has happened in the past week. You may choose to bring something special, perhaps a stuffed animal, on trips and send photos of the stuffed animal’s adventures. Traditions such as these will bring your relationship beyond the realm of talking.
Send Surprises by Mail
Snail Mail is still a number one choice for surprises! Send fun items, for example, postcards from your travels or gift certificates to a favorite store. A newspaper article they may be interested in or a “just because” card with a sweet note shows grandchildren you not only are interested in them but remember their favorites. Old pictures and letters reminiscing about the past gives a glimpse of life when you were their age. They will look forward to these surprises and feel as if you are there with them.
Share an Activity
An excellent way to bond with grandchildren is to share an activity, much as if you were there in person. Find a TV show to watch together and then facetime every week during its airtime. Share reactions to the characters or storyline. Or, if they are old enough, choose a book to read together (your own private book club) and discuss the main points of the book while reading. Online websites offer the means to play card or board games together without the mess of putting all the pieces back where they belong…speaking of which, there are even apps for jigsaw puzzle lovers!
Teach Something New
Grandparents have the ability to instruct grandkids, even from afar. Share how to make the famous family chicken pot pie by emailing in advance a list of the needed ingredients. Make it together over Skype or FaceTime. Add fun to the recipe with songs, family stories, and the recipe origins. Kids will open up and share their lives as well as having a great cooking experience.
Take advantage of the time you do see your grandchildren in person and always know you are able to have a strong relationship with them when distanced. Bridge to Better Living is here to help you find a perfect balance in your life. Consultants personally visit each community and know where to find fun activities. Transition Consultants observe which communities welcome grandchildren, have generous visitation policies, and offer easy access to a mailbox. Family is important for quality of life and important to Bridge to Better Living…almost as important as grandchildren!