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Lockdown: Have we been forgetting the grandparents?

Everyone is talking about the Christmas ad by Supervalue Supermarket. It sets the scene of a little boy waiting hopefully for the arrival of a very special Christmas visitor. If you haven’t seen it, then go and look for it now as I don't want to spoil it for you.

Not only did the advert leave me with tears in my eyes (John Lewis has some stiff competition) it made me reflect on how important it is to maintain close bonds between our children and our parents, if we are lucky enough to have them.

Why are grandparents so special?

Grandparents have become integral to the modern family unit as they are increasingly being asked to provide essential childcare for working parents. The famous saying, ‘It takes a community to raise a child,' is as relevant today as it has ever been.

Even the research proves how awesome they are! Moorman and Stokes (2014) found that children who had positive relationships with their grandparents when growing up, were less likely to be depressed in later life. This has definitely given me food for thought.

Over the last few months, I have managed to remain in regular virtual contact with my dad and his wife, despite the restrictions, although he may well dispute the word regular! We speak on the phone, exchange humorous memes and play board games online. 

However, it dawned on me recently that I tend to do a lot of this when my children are at school or otherwise occupied. As a result, they have been missing out on opportunities to connect with their grandparents and I hadn’t even realised it!

So, with this in mind, I have put together a list of child-friendly activities to lift the spirits of grandparents and grandchildren in lockdown everywhere.

Child-friendly activities with grandparents 

So, with this in mind, I have put together a list of child-friendly activities to lift the spirits of grandparents and grandchildren in lockdown everywhere.

Photos

I’m sure you send photos of your children to your parents all the time, but I wonder whether you limit them to when you’re doing something particularly interesting or remarkable. Why not try sending the more everyday ones also. Just as a little reminder that you are thinking of them.

Selfies and filters

Kids love a selfie, and there are so many apps available now that will allow the children to have fun adding frames, funny moustaches or even alien antennae to their videos and photos. Challenge them to style and send their own selfie. I bet they’d love seeing Granny reply as a Martian!

Girl video calling grandparents

Online chats

Warning! In my experience young children get bored with virtual conversation very quickly; they’re just not very good at small talk. This means that online chats can become rather chaotic or filled with awkward silences. However, if you keep the sessions brief but regular, you could be on to a winner.

Virtual games

How about a game of virtual Snakes and Ladders? You can set it up with just the one board if you have an extra camera or video device to project the board. There are also many online quiz platforms which work well with slightly older children. The possibilities are endless.

Old fashioned correspondence

Do any of us even write letters anymore? With schools closing in many areas, many parents are having to juggle their children’s online learning with work. Why don’t you kill two birds with one stone and ask your child to write a postcard, letter or email to their grandparents? I am sure that they’d be thrilled with the reply that lands on the doormat.

Digital walks

Just because we can’t go out for regular, socially distanced, walks at the moment, it doesn’t mean we can’t bring our loved ones along with us. Have you thought of live streaming your walk to the woods? I probably need to add a health and safety disclaimer here somewhere: be sure to mind the trees, lampposts roads etc when recording!

Books

This one is my personal favourites. Snuggle up and share a favourite poem or story before bedtime. This is definitely one I’d like to try.

Now it's your turn!

My family really miss our visits to Nanny and Grandad, so I am determined to innovate with some fun alternatives! Why don’t you have a go too and let me know how you get on?

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Written by Catherine Beach Counselling, Dip Couns, BACP

Catherine is a person centred counsellor, teacher and occasional poet from Kent. She is on a mission to rid the world of shoulds and musts so she can work with her clients to discover their passions, wants and needs. She firmly believes that we are all good enough but live in a world that often lies to us.… Read more

Written by Catherine Beach Counselling, Dip Couns, BACP

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