How Kids Can Connect With Grandparents Despite Social Distancing
Right now, everyone in America is being encouraged to stay at home and social distance as much as possible as a result of COVID-19. Not only are kids out of school and away from friends, but they’re also suddenly being distanced from grandparents and other relatives. Maintaining separation is critical for keeping everyone, especially older grandparents, safe, but being apart from family can still take an emotional toll. The good news? Despite the forced distance between them, your kids and their grandparents can keep up their close bond. All it takes is a bit of creativity and useful technology. Need some ideas? Keep scrolling to find several ways to let relatives know how much your little ones are thinking of them and waiting to see them again soon.
There’s a good chance you were already using video chat platforms like FaceTime or Skype to connect with grandparents pre-coronavirus, whenever you couldn’t do an in-person visit. These technologies—of which there are many, including Zoom, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Duo, Houseparty and more—take on even more meaning now, as they’re the safest way for your kids to chat face-to-face with Grandma and Grandpa without putting their health at risk. So don’t be afraid to chat up the grandparents regularly on one of these video platforms; even the AAP’s screen time guidelines say it’s fine for babies under 18 months to video chat.
Do your parents or in-laws regularly take part in your little one’s bedtime routine? If so, this is probably one of the things they’re missing the most in this difficult time of social distancing and self-quarantines. Depending on the type of baby monitor you use, you may be able to share your camera view to include your relatives in the nightly party. For example, if you use a Nest cam, you can set up a family account and share access to loved ones, or if you have a Motorola monitor, you can use the Hubble app to give grandparents access to live video and sound coverage of your kids. They can listen, watch and even sing or read a bedtime story without needing to step foot in the nursery.
Nope, we’re not talking about sending Grandma and Grandpa a framed photo of your kiddos to gaze at—families can share an unlimited number of their latest and greatest photos instantly from their phones straight to digital photo frames in loved ones’ homes. That means relatives can enjoy seeing that adorable capture of baby tasting a new food this morning, or the snap of your toddler and fur baby having an afternoon snuggle, as soon as those moments happen. There are several frame options out there, including Aura, Skylight and Nixplay, to name a few.
For grandparents who live close by, especially if they’re living in a nursing home or retirement village where visitor access has been restricted, you can opt to do what this Boston man did and have your kids talk to your loved one through a closed window using a cellphone (or through an open window, if you can maintain a six-foot separation). Even with a barrier between them, your kids and your relatives both will light up the moment they see one another, and the sweet conversations they’ll have will be a cherished memory once these difficult times are over.
Grandparents have a knack for making storytime extra special—and we guarantee all the grandparents out there miss reading books together as much as kids are. That’s where digital readings come into play. You can enjoy a read-aloud during a Zoom chat, or use one of the apps and websites specially designed for this particular purpose. Readeo, for example, lets grandparents record themselves reading your little one’s favorite story so they can share storytime together but apart. Another option? Those adorable recordable storybooks, available on Amazon.
Is there a particular movie your kids love to watch at Grandma and Grandpa’s house? Bring them together, from your respective homes, for a digital viewing with Netflix Party. You and your relatives will need your own Netflix accounts in order to make this work, but it’s free and super-simple. Once downloaded, the service will automatically synchronize the chosen movie so your kids and their grandparents will be at the same place in the movie. There’s even a fun chat bar on the side so they can talk about their favorite movie moments.
Grandparents and other relatives are your kids’ biggest fans, so of course they’d want to see their artwork and school projects (and let’s be honest, there’s probably a lot of crafting going on in your house these days). Since they can’t exactly take a peek in person right now, why not share those mementos digitally using Keepy, an app that lets you organize, save and privately share photos and videos with loved ones, who can then respond with video, voice and text comments. It’s a great way to keep grandparents up-to-date on your child’s everyday life during social distancing and beyond!
When it comes to keeping in contact with grandparents from afar, don’t overlook the power of paper mail. Remember, your older relatives grew up without all this technology! Have your child draw them a picture or make a card and slip it into the mail—their grandparents will cherish whatever they send. And who knows? Maybe your kids will soon have something special waiting in their mailbox too! Plus, more from The Bump: