BEING A LONG-DISTANCE (OR SOCIAL DISTANCING) GRANDPARENT:
We know the reality of being long-distance grandparents. Three of our six grandchildren live more than seven hundred miles from my husband and me. Experience has taught both of us that long-distance grandparenting is more than difficult. It’s lonesome, frustrating, worrisome and downright painful, at times.
Many of you know what I am talking about because you, too, have grandchildren living in other states or time zones. Meanwhile, others of you are experiencing it for the first time because of social distancing imposed by the pandemic.
What’s a long-distance (or social distancing) grandparent to do? We start by embracing technology.
If you are hesitant, please let me reassure you. There aren’t many people in the western world who are as technologically challenged as me. If I stepped out of my comfort zone, then you can, too. I taught myself how to use Zoom, which is a user-friendly program that provides a way to set up a conference call.
For the past eight weeks, I have been meeting with our grandchildren via Zoom. They look at the pages while I read stories to them from the Jesus Storybook Bible. I also find fun and engaging projects, which we can do together. For example, we traced our bodies on butcher paper and then drew the armor of God on our outlines. We even made “dirt” with chocolate pudding, crushed Oreos and gummy worms.
I’ve enjoyed watching our granddaughter, who is the youngest member of our family, change from a newborn to a smiling two-month old.
If you are overwhelmed by technology, then I invite you to watch Zoom 101, created and produced by Chris Kallal. This video provides a step-by-step basic explanation of how to set up a zoom account, schedule a conference and start a meeting. https://drive.google.com/open?id=1uMQr0teKO400_wOBX8jqufMzwyHQ8wc3
If you are comfortable using Zoom, you may want to look at Beyond the Basics. This video is one of my favorites. It shows how to use screen share and the white board with markers. The white board is perfect of creating pictures and playing word games. https://drive.google.com/file/d/15LClY8966IYHRMSMdQhESIyn2Y5THyaw/view
If you need more entertaining ways to engage with your grandchildren via the computer, you may want to watch the Virtual Games. This video is filled with interactive games to play on zoom. https://drive.google.com/open?id=1XMACHT-_qkerlnfvF5NVHhLeqzDj62p9
Long-distance (or social distancing) grandparenting is difficult, lonesome, frustrating and downright painful. However, it is NOT impossible. With ingenuity, determination and the willingness to step out of our comfort zones, we can use technology to connect with our grandchildren in engaging and meaningful ways. We can build strong and lasting relationships with our grandchildren, even the ones who live on the other side of the world!
These resources are offered to you by Christian Grandparenting Network. Please let us know if they encouraged you in any way.
(Note: I had the joy of working with Chris Kallal and his beautiful wife at the GrandCamp in Illinois last August. They work tirelessly for the Lord, delivering the Gospel message to children of all ages.)