Many families are separated right now. This is difficult for everyone, but especially so for kids, who might not understand why there have to be restrictions. Even without the pandemic, some older people live in care homes or with live-in-care, which can be tricky for a child to understand and feel comfortable with.
Early years are so formative for relationship building, so when children are kept away from their grandparents, these relationships can suffer. Research conducted by Ann Buchanan at Oxford University suggests that children with close relationships with their grandparents face fewer emotional and behavioral challenges. This could be anxiety and depression or problems at school.
So, in a pandemic, how can you make sure your kids feel close to their grandparents?
Keep a routine for getting in touch.
Though many older people may struggle with technology, one of the great things to come out of the pandemic is innovation in communication technology. You can keep in touch with people over the phone, via calls or texts, or over a video call.
These can feel like a bit of a slog sometimes when poor wifi slows or freezes communication, but they are the best way to keep a vocal relationship between your kids and their grandparents. To keep this up, it can help to schedule these calls.
Maybe you call once a week on a Saturday afternoon, or every other day in the evening. Your kids will come to expect this routine and enjoy chatting with their grandparents. Another way to establish a routine when checking up on grandparents is through the use of a GPS-aided fall detector alarm. These portable gadgets can be worn as a wristwatch or as a pendant. If you gift grandparents these devices, it becomes easier to know where they are and be of help when they need you most. The success of your remote monitoring will depend on your internet stability. And the kids will be happy to know their grandparents are safe.
Use the post to your advantage.
This tip works both for the pandemic and those who may be living great distances apart from their older relatives.
The postal system is a great help for those looking to increase relationships. You can get your kids to write letters to their grandparents or paint them a picture. This way, your kids will be thinking about their grandparents (and how to impress them with their painting!), and the grandparents can have something to stick up on their fridge.
When you do your next video call, and your kids see their painting hanging up in the background, they will be able to see what an essential part of their grandparents’ lives they are.
Create photo albums for your kids.
Visual clues are a great way to get your kids to think of their grandparents positively. Unless they have lived abroad their whole lives, there are likely times when your kids have spent time with their grandparents. Hopefully, you’ll have a couple of photos from these memories.
By putting them into a photo album, your kids can look through and remember the stories. This physical proof of their relationship will remind your kids that their grandparents are part of their lives and – hopefully soon, will be a material part of their lives again.
Keep the relationship strong.
Your kids can only benefit from a stronger relationship with their grandparents. By using these little tips, they will have no trouble keeping in contact over the pandemic.