The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it social distancing, quarantines, shutdowns, and other methods that limit the spread of COVID-19 by limiting people’s contact with one another. Senior citizens are among the demographic groups that are most likely to develop serious complications from COVID-19. As a consequence, they must strictly adhere to safety measures that protect them and those they love.
An unfortunate consequence of staying safe, however, is a feeling among many senior citizens that they are losing touch with their grandchildren. After a year of being unable to visit their loved ones – a year of birthdays, holidays, and other special occasions – many seniors may feel depressed or anxious about losing touch with their grandchildren. In turn, children may feel confused or saddened by the sudden change in their relationship with their grandparents.
As COVID-19 continues to remain a serious concern for health and safety in families, there isn’t a clear end in sight as far as when gatherings can resume again. That said, there are plenty of other ways senior citizens can and should be doing to connect with the grandchildren in their lives. Technology innovations such as video messaging, instant messaging, and the Internet itself make it possible for grandparents and grandchildren to stay connecting even when they have to stay apart.
1. Story Time
Kids love hearing stories and grandparents love telling them. While the personal touch of reading while snuggled up on the couch is on hold for a bit, there are plenty of ways that story time can go on even during the pandemic. Video chat sessions between computers and smartphones make it possible for grandparents to read beloved books from their childhood or new ones they think their grandchildren will love.
Either way, the experience helps children and grandparents bond with one another while kids improve their reading skills, build their vocabularies, and learn important life lessons. Seniors can work out a regular time to call each week and read with their grandchildren, which can give both parties something to look forward to for the rest of the week.
2. Family Game Night
With a little ingenuity on behalf of parents, it’s possible for grandma and grandma to join in on the fun during family game night. Whether it’s online games or classic board games like Monopoly or Scrabble conducted over video chat, there are plenty of ways seniors can play with their grandchildren. Doing so can help kids develop math and vocabulary skills while keeping grandparents’ skills sharp.
3. Regular Communication
Getting together in a virtual space doesn’t always have to be an event – sometimes just talking and sharing news about each other’s day is enough to make sure kids and grandparents stay connected. Whether it’s video chats, emails, instant messaging, or telephone calls, it’s important for both seniors and kids to catch up with each other on a regular basis and learn more about each other’s lives. When kids are the ones writing emails and messages, it can help them work on their spelling, grammar, and composition skills.
4. Mailing Letters & Postcards
Letter writing isn’t as common as it once was, but there’s no reason it can’t be revived among families looking for new ways to connect during the pandemic. Handwriting letters and postcards are not only fun and novel experiences for everyone, but they can also give a much more personal touch to communication in ways nothing else quite can. These notes can be treasured forever and shared again over the years when it’s time for families to get back together.
5. Video Chat Groups
Companies like Zoom helped many companies stay in touch and adjust to work-from-home schedules, and they can also help your family get together, too! When you put on a group video chat, everyone can get together for a birthday celebration, to meet for the holidays, and prevent other special occasions from passing by in silence. Each household can have a chance to connect with the other as the whole family gets together in a different way for the time being.