How to Stay Connected with Your Grandchild While Social Distancing

How one grandmother is keeping the family close even when she can’t see them.

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- Posted on Mar 23, 2020

Courtesy of BJ Taylor

“Aubree’s school has closed,” my granddaughter Kaitlyn wrote in an email. “I’m working from home.”

“We’re sheltering in place,” I responded. “I wish I could hug you guys.”

This time away for my six-year-old great-granddaughter Aubree from her teacher and classroom would be hard for Aubree. And being separated from her, without physical interaction, would be hard for me too. How could I stay connected with Aubree?

I knew Aubree was missing the projects and affirmations she got every day at school, so I asked Kaitlyn if it would be okay if I sent some assignments. With her permission, I came up with a few projects for Aubree. 

The next day I sent Aubree (through her mommy’s cell phone) a selfie of me with a paper birthday cone hat on my head and asked her to send back a picture of herself with something on her head. Her mom helped her respond by sending a picture of Aubree wearing the All Creatures magazine I had gifted her proudly perched on top of her head. Her big smile made me smile too. “Thank you for the cute picture,” I texted back. 

The following day I sent this message: “Your next assignment is to take a picture of a blank page in a coloring book and send the picture to me. Then tomorrow, send me a picture of that page colored in by you. Take your time. Make it pretty and your best work. Grandma is going to save every picture you send me. Love you!” I ended with a red heart.

Kaitlyn texted back. “From Aubree: “I love you Grandma.” Attached was the uncolored picture.

About 40 minutes later my phone pinged. There was Aubree holding a beautifully colored picture. Kaitlyn texted, “You gave her an assignment and she was determined to get it done today!” 

I’ve prompted her with photos, like the one I sent of a rainbow-colored sheep I keep on my desk. My text told her the picture reminds me that I’m different, and it’s okay to be unique. I told her to take a picture of her favorite animal and tell me why she likes it so much. 

Other tasks have included sending a picture of herself helping mommy wash, dry and put away the dishes. Or organizing all of her stuffed animals into neat rows in her room and all of her baby dolls and clothes into plastic bins. 

To step it up a notch, I asked Aubree to put together a puzzle, then to take a photo with it and send it to Grandma. 

In every reply, I’m sure to express my admiration with an emoji high five, a “good job” or an “awesome.. Instant over-the-internet encouragement.

Right now I can’t see Aubree in person and get a warm hug or stand at the kitchen counter, bake a cake and lick the beaters after we frost it. But with a little creativity and intention, I’m staying connected to my granddaughter—and helping mommy keep her busy too!

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