A young child smiles as she holds a picture book while sitting on the lap of an older adult caretaker in her family.

5 Tips to Help Grandparents Stay Connected with their Grandkids, Despite Social Distancing

The Coronavirus is disproportionally affecting older adults. As a result, many children now find themselves separated from their grandparents due to social distancing or cautionary measures to prevent their grandparents’ possible exposure to the virus. This lack of in-person contact with their grandparents can cause anxiety, stress and confusion among children. 

With the holiday season upon us, many families are also adjusting plans and traditions to take measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has urged Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving, and to celebrate only with members of their own households.

Here , our psychosocial and education experts suggest ways to stay engaged during these challenging times, including helpful tips for grandparents on how to talk to their grandchildren about this separation. 

  1. Be Honest. Explain that the virus affects older people differently than children. The virus is more likely to spread when people are together in the same place. By not seeing them, it helps protect you from getting the virus and getting sick.
  2. Let them know this is only temporary. You will be able to be spend time with each other again once the spread of the virus has slowed down or ceased.
  3. Validate their feelings. Reassure them that it is okay to miss you, and invite them to share their feelings.  Express how you are feeling, too.
  4. Talk regularly. Express your love even if you’re not in the same place. Talk frequently by phone or by video chat through applications such as WhatsApp, Skype, Facetime, or Google Duo. Share one happy thing that you saw, ate or did today; give a compliment; or share a riddle or joke.
  5. Organize a remote “play date.”  Schedule time to connect remotely at the same time each day so they have something to look forward to.  You can draw or do other art activities; read a  story; sing a song; play a game or try a stress buster

You’re not alone. As the global leader in child-focused humanitarian response, Save the Children is proud to launch Coronavirus and Kids: Resources from Save the Children to support parents, grandparents, caregivers, teachers, school administrators and those who care about children in response. 

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