Working, playing, and learning from home—it’s a lot to manage, and the end isn’t really in sight yet. Time to bring in the reinforcements! Involving grandparents or grandfriends in your family’s weekly (or daily) life is a great way to support one another and strengthen your family’s intergenerational bonds. Are they across the country? Or quarantining nearby? No problem: it can all happen virtually.
If your child’s grandparents aren’t able to help, consider a family friend, neighbor, aunt, great uncle, or anyone else your child is close to.
Pro Tip: Set up a regular time for connection to help establish a routine for the kids and give you a predictable time to get some work done.
Some of our favorite ways to connect:
- Play games together…virtually. If online games aren’t your style, Pictionary and charades work well on Zoom.
- Sign up for readeo so your child can turn the pages while grandparents or grandfriends read aloud. If your child is old enough, have them read. Here are some tips for listening to children read.
- Order a small flannel board and felt board figures to tell story time favorites like, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? or The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Grandparents can also make stories up with their felt figures, sing nursery rhymes with props, or ask the children to make up stories that grandparents can “act out” on their felt board.
- Ask your child’s grandparent to create a “scavenger hunt” for the child. This can be done on a Zoom call, FaceTime, or even through email or snail mail. Here’s an example of something that could be on the hunt—“Find something that is red, shaped like a square, and bigger than a penny.” Afterwards, your child can then make a scavenger hunt for Grandma!
- For older kids, exchanging riddles is always fun. Jokes and puns work well, too.
- Write letters/make cards for grandparents or grandfriends. So simple, yet very meaningful.
- This one is geared towards older children: Visit ancestry websites together to explore your family’s history. Some popular ones are Ancestry.com and MyHeritage.com. If this doesn't make sense for your family, they can explore a past decade together—grandfriends can relive an earlier time in their life, and kids can learn some history.
- Use Keepy to share art-work, projects, and all the things grandparents adore. Grandpa can even leave voice, video, or text comments on each memory to share the love.
- Send simple gifts in the mail. (We sent personalized bookmarks using magic rainbow paper. Here are some more ideas.) Though it may be a small gesture, it’s a special way to say you are thinking about a loved one.
- Watch a same movie at the same time, then talk about your favorite parts. Netflix offers an option to create a watch party with a free browser extension.
- Find some more inspiration here.