Stay connected with grandkids during lockdown

Make the most of those video calls

You might be feeling a bit isolated and sad in your bubble, and even if we shift down levels still, it’s likely those of us who are older or unwell will need to stay home even longer. Luckily, modern devices can come to the rescue. Keeping in touch with loved ones, especially grandchildren, is easier than ever thanks to sophisticated video calling.

When you do connect, it’s not just about seeing their darling faces or asking how their lockdown is going. You can make the most of those video calls by planning activities you can do together – virtually. Here are some ideas:

Cooking or crafts

Now’s your chance to share a favourite yummy recipe that your grandkids are missing – fudge, cake, home-made bread – so they can make their own. You’ll need to send a copy of your recipe if they don’t already have it, and parents may need to be on stand-by to locate ingredients, set up things like cake mixers, or add muscle to help knead dough.

All kinds of crafts can be shared virtually – try taking your grandchild through the folds of an origami crane, or make pasta pictures. Scrap-booking is another favourite, especially if both bubbles get the same newspapers or magazines. Knitting, sewing, folding paper airplanes – all your grandkids need are the materials and tools, and you on the video leading the way.

Game it on your devices 

Most kids have devices these days, and they’re probably fairly proficient at online games. Put aside any techno-phobia and challenge them to a duel at Candy Crush, play Words With Friends or Wheel of Fortune, or get them to coach you into creating new worlds with Minecraft. You’ll have heaps of fun, and maybe even learn something!

Stories always 

Most committed grandparents have a cache of storybooks all ready for when the littlies visit. If you’re one of these, you can still read to your littler grandchildren virtually. Set your phone or laptop up so you can easily turn the book and show the pictures – an essential part of enjoying any story!

Get out that box of toys

Your grandkids may not be able to play with the toys you’ve collected, but you can still give parents a break by playing with them virtually. Cars, trains, dollhouses, soft toys – get them out, talk about them, get them to ‘talk’ to toys (and your grandkids) at the other end of the call – and don’t be surprised how quickly the time passes.

Boogie down to your favourite tunes

You can play your own music, or have parents play your grandkids’ favourites at their end. Set your device up so your grandchildren can see you getting in the groove, and move to the music together.

Boosting a flagging conversation

Sometimes you might just want to talk – but monosyllabic grandchildren can be hard work! Try the High-Low game to get the conversation going. Ask your grandchild what the best part of the day has been – the ‘high’. Then ask about the worst part – the ‘low’. You can share your highs and lows too, and you may learn a whole lot more about your grandchildren’s passions and pet peeves. This game can be repeated every day, and continued even after we all get out of lockdown.

Communicate and connect

Whether you share crafts or cooking, read stories or play with toys, have a dance party or an in-depth conversation, staying connected to your grandchildren during lockdown is vitally important – for them as well as you. You may develop relationships that weren’t imaginable previously, gain a whole new understanding of your grandkids, and learn a few tech skills along the way.