FaceTime

Ashlee Coffey’s parents, Mark and Traci Schuette, FaceTiming with grandsons Elliott and Sam.

If your kids are anything like mine, they love their grandparents.

My boys, who are ages 6 and 3, look forward to our weekly trips to see them, and when we miss one, they ask about going.

So this coronavirus outbreak has definitely put a damper on our visits — and my kids aren’t happy about it.

We’ve had to get creative in how we visit with Grandma and Grandpa. Here’s what we’re doing — or are planning to do — to keep everyone connected.

1. FaceTime. The obvious way we’re staying in touch with grandparents is through FaceTime. Sure, it’s not the same, but it’s better than just a phone call. My kids get the chance to show Grandma and Grandpa the drawings they did, or how they set up the MagnaTiles into a giant castle. And grandparents can read the kids a bedtime story.

2. Writing letters. Grandparents love mail from grandchildren. Get kids to write letters or draw pictures to let their grandparents know what’s going on in their lives. It’s fun that my 6-year-old, Sam, is starting to read and write, so I can’t wait to send his first letter. Hopefully, it’ll brighten their days until we can see them in person.

3. Sending care packages. This is one parents and grandparents both can do. Maybe Grandma and Grandpa can make and mail a batch of their grandchildren’s favorite cookies to enjoy. And, likewise, kids can decorate cookies or send some pretty craft projects or flowers to brighten Grandma and Grandpa’s day.

4. Watching movies together. If both families have Netflix, you can watch a movie together through Netflix Party, an extension for the Chrome browser. Parents can start the movie on Netflix.com on their computer. Then just click the “Netflix Party” icon and click “Start the Party.” It will automatically create a link that you can send to grandparents. They’ll be able to join the party by clicking the link. Netflix Party creates a text chat for everyone involved and allows anyone to pause the movie. If that’s too hard for Grandma and Grandpa to figure out, just have them hit “play” on a movie the same time you do!

5. Driving by to wave and say hello. If grandparents live in the same city, why not get in the car and drive over to Grandma and Grandpa’s house? You won’t be able to go inside, but waving and talking to each other from the car will be a nice change of pace from video chatting.

Hopefully, these fun ideas will help keep kids and grandparents safely connected during this difficult time of social distancing.

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