Bill VanGorder, Chief Policy Officer pro tem of CARP, recently created a list of ways seniors can be the best grandparent they can be, while following the important guidelines of physical distancing during COVID-19.
Don’t worry if you don’t have internet access, most of these suggestions can be done over the phone.
- Learn to use Facetime or Skype on your phone or computer so you can watch a show or movie on one while video chatting on the other simultaneously.
- Set up specific times to visit online so your grandchildren have those to look forward to—kids like and need structure in these “covid-irregular” times.
- Do simple fitness activities like chair yoga, stretches, walking on the spot etc. together, electronically.
- Schedule shows, movies and other programs you will watch together and chat about, e.g. start watching a TV show or movie at the same time and chat on another device while watching, or after, so it’s a shared experience. If you only have phone access, watch the movie or TV ahead of time and then discuss.
- Help your grandchildren write fun letters and take photos to send to other relatives.
- Read a book to them over the phone or online.
- Ask them to make collections (such as similar toys, or old photos or other household handy items) as a sort of a Treasure Hunt.
- Download books for a virtual age-appropriate book club discussion.
- Listen to music with them and have them explain their music preferences to you.
- If they are older, ask them to do errands like shopping for you (if they are nearby). Make them feel wanted and useful.
- Show an interest and help with their school work.
- Ask about and discuss their world of sports, e.g. what they are missing and how they think their favourite sports will rebound when the pandemic is under control.
- Send your grandchildren a parcel every other week. You could include a craft to be done together with a parent, some ‘homework ‘ fun pages, homemade cookies, etc. Never send them the same day; keep them wondering when it will arrive and don’t tell when or what is in it.
- Share recipes by texting pictures back and forth of what you have created. Make it a fun contest on baking/cooking a variety of different things.
- Write down a favourite made-up story and share it as you would a book. Works for both kids and grandparents who have been in the habit of making up stories.
- Watch the online kitchen parties that are full of singing and dancing together and showing support for front-line workers and support staff. Watch them together by telephone or online.
Originally published on carp.ca.
For more tips on staying safe during COVID-19, check out our Back To Work guide.