While you might be feeling lonely during social distancing, your grandparents are probably feeling just the same way. Because older folks are more at risk for health complications from the coronavirus, your grandparents might be scared to leave the house even to go the grocery store. They may have had very little, if any, contact with anyone else since the pandemic began.
Even if you can’t give your grandma or grandpa a giant hug during this time, you still have the power to put a smile on their face and make them feel loved and supported.
If you’re not sure exactly what to do, here are 5 ideas to get you started.
- Teach them some tech. Does gramma know how to gram? Does grandpa know what a Tik Tok is? This is a great time to show your grandparents some of the fun apps that are widely used today. Maybe they’ve heard of them but don’t know how or why to use them. Show them some of your stuff, and then create some content together over the phone or video calls. Give them some homework, and then check in to see what they’ve made the next time you see them (or on their feed if they are feeling advanced!). They will be excited to have a new project to work on and new ways to stay in touch with you. If you’re looking for ways to get low-cost internet, check out this post.
- Trade stories. Unless they happen to live nearby, we generally don’t see our grandparents as much as our parents or siblings. Stories you automatically tell your friends and family might not always make it to your grandparents, not because you don’t want to tell them, but just because you forget when you don’t see them. The next time you chat, share something interesting that happened to you recently. Or if you’re not up for that, ask them about their lives, not just now, but when they were your age. What would they have done if the pandemic happened to them when they were in high school? You might just learn some cool new things about your family history you wouldn’t have heard otherwise.
- Have them teach you something. So you might have taught them tech, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a ton of cool stuff they can teach you. Maybe there is a special secret family recipe they can finally share with you. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to know how to do something that they happen to be really good at. While you might not be able to learn in person, you can still have virtual lessons, and you will find it is definitely worth it!
- Make plans for later. Sometimes it’s just not fun talking about what is going on in the world. And that’s ok. So what if you instead decide to talk about your grand plans once this is all over? Maybe you want to take a trip together. Where do you want to go? Maybe you want to learn how to do something together. What would that look like? Make a list as you consider all the fun activities you could do together.
- Send them a surprise gift. You know how fantastic it is to get a surprise gift in the mail? That never gets old. Consider sending your grandparents something that will put a smile on their face. It doesn’t need to be expensive and it could even be homemade. Are you an artist? Consider drawing a sketch of a special memory you shared or painting a portrait of them. Do you like to bake? Send them your favorite treat. (Or maybe it’s the finished secret family recipe they shared with you!) Maybe you have a talent for music and your surprise gift is an original family song or a virtual performance. Whatever you decide, the fact that your gift is from the heart will surely fill theirs.