Six ways to keep grandparents connected during COVID

These ideas will help keep grandma and grandpa connected during this tough time.

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Art by Sarabeth Wester

Make sure you come up with a plan to keep the grandfolks involved during quarantine.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused grandparents near and far to miss out on valuable time with their grandkids. The experience, for many grandma’s and grandpa’s, has been gut-wrenching.  It may not seem like the biggest deal in the world to young people, but it is to our beloved grandparents.

My grandpa and grandma, Karlee and Charlie Downing, want nothing more than to see their grandson (my cousin), Gabe. Gabe is a second-year cadet at the Air Force Academy in Colorado, and the pandemic has kept him from going home to see his friends and family.

Gabe’s situation is like many across the country: the pandemic has isolated grandparents near and far. But the Downings, like you and your family, can stay connected in other ways.  Here are some prime tips for keeping your grandparents a close part of your life.

Organize a distanced “play date”
Zoom or FaceTime are great apps to use for children to connect with their grandparents. You can set up a call once a week at 5 PM, say, and during that call, you can color, draw pictures, play card games, or even watch a sporting event together over the phone.  Grandpa’s love golf– set the phone up in the living room and let the whole family be a part of it.

“I usually use iMessage to keep in contact with Gabe,” Charlie Downing said, “I call him here and there but I have a routine set and that helps me stay connected to my family during these stressful times.”

Set up routines
Routines are crucial to keeping in touch. Set up a time, like every Saturday night at 6 pm or Sunday at 10 am. Whatever works best for your schedule. Making sure you reach out via a routine can keep them closer to you and the fam.

Social Media and photo sharing apps
Facebook or Google Photos are two great apps that can keep your family connected. Facebook allows you to tag your friends and family in pictures, so tagging your grandpa or grandma in a funny post once a week and having some comment banter can help make sure they feel close to you.  Google Photos (for the tech-savvy grandparents) is also a great app to use to share videos and pictures with your family. It allows your grandparents to be able to view pictures and videos no matter where they are.

If Google Photos is a tough sell to grandparents, simply message them with videos of you and the family. They can tap and watch!

“Social media has helped me and grandpa too,” Karlee said. “It helps us know and understand what our family is doing and it helps us stay connected.”

Go old school write letters
If your grandparents aren’t techy, begin a routine of writing letters. Most people don’t write letters anymore, but it’s a forgotten art form and the older generation was way into it!

Send them cards or artwork
Something as small as sending an envelope with your little brother’s drawings in it can help make your grandparents feel connected. Did your little sister paint a picture in art or make a clay bowl? Send it via the mail or iMessage!

Start a project

Grandma’s love to participate.  Start a project like a family memoir, or a blog, or a Quarantine Journal (via Google Docs) that you can both write in.

Grandparents have had it tough.  Hopefully, these different interactive tips will help you find a way to keep them close during these stressful times.

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