Helping Children Bond with Long-Distance Grandparents.
earn fun activities to help grandparents and their grandchildren build and maintain strong relationships from afar, especially amid COVID-19 restrictions.
Grandparents can play a special role in your child’s life. They’re uniquely qualified to be friends, mentors, and guides, offering a sense of connection and tradition. Whether grandparents live nearby or faraway, they can support and enhance your role as a parent – even if spending time together in person isn’t an option these days.
No two families are alike, and grandparent-grandchild relationships come in many different styles. Trust and respect grandparents to find their own ways to relate to and interact with your child — and be sure to encourage their bond.
How to Bond with Grandparents from Far Away
Whether grandparents and grandchildren are separated by miles, or they’re unable to see each other in person due to COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines, here are some ways to help them connect:
- Use FaceTime, Skype, Messenger Kids, Marco Polo, or similar technology to communicate on a regular basis. Being able to see grandparents makes the interaction more concrete, especially for the smallest ones.
- Take video chats outside so they can go for a walk “together” — they can show each other their surroundings and anything interesting they see.
- Bring back the pen pal relationship. Encourage your child to write notes or draw pictures to send to their grandparents — and vice versa.
- Take photos and videos of your child doing different activities — riding their bike, swinging on the monkey bars, shooting a basketball — and send them on a regular basis.
- Ask grandparents to record songs, lullabies, and bedtime stories to be shared again and again.
- Send grandparents small mementos, such as your child’s artwork or crafts.
- Establish special traditions like virtual Friday night ice cream dates or Saturday morning breakfasts.
- Book of Faces. You can create a picture book for your child that includes the names and photos of all of their family members. We go through the book and point to the faces and read their names for recognition. When you physically see that person, take out the book to show your child it’s the same person as in the book!
How to Bond with Grandparents in Person
If your parents — or your spouse’s parents — live with you, help them maximize the time they have together, with the grandkids under the same roof. Many grandparents enjoy leisurely playing with their grandchildren, but might need a few suggestions. Encourage grandparents to introduce games from their childhood, such as hide and seek, jacks, jump rope, marbles, hopscotch, and others.
Some children enjoy simply talking to or participating in everyday routines with their grandparents, such as working in the garden or making a meal. Grandparents can also pass on family traditions and history as they share stories or look through photo albums with your child.
Grandparent Activities for Infants and Toddler
- Reading stories
- Going for a walk
- Playing with water
- Stacking toys or blocks
Grandparent Activities for Preschoolers
- Cooking or baking together – especially a favorite family recipe
- Working on simple art activities such as playdough or watercolors
- Reading stories
- Board games
- Exploring nature
- Visiting a children’s museum (keeping social distancing and other guidelines in mind)
Grandparent Activities for School-Age Children
- Playing board or card games
- Doing art activities like sculpting with clay, Origami, or watercolors
- Visiting a museum or zoo (keeping physical distancing and other guidelines in mind)
- Learning a skill such as fishing or gardening
- Working on a puzzle