If you’re a grandparent living far from your grandchildren or unable to visit due to the pandemic, it can be hard to feel a part of their lives. Even if you don’t have grandchildren many older adults volunteer as tutors, foster grandparents through Senior Corps, or other role model positions that help young people thrive. Suddenly these much needed older role models have been cut off from regular in-person interactions with the young minds in their lives. (If you are interested in virtual volunteering opportunities Encore has a list of 10 great organizations that are searching for volunteers.)
Most of these volunteers and grandparents know that by learning new skills people grow and have more opportunities to connect and thrive. They often lead as examples of life long learners for the young people in their lives — with COVID-19 this was no different. Many older adults dove into online classes to not only gain knowledge but to set an example of how to grow as a person in the middle of a crisis.
Thanks to modern technology (and the fact that children are more connected now than ever before) there are lots of fun activities that these generations can participate in together online. Volunteers of the Senior Corps foster grandparenting program have taken classes to learn some of the virtual education platforms being used by schools and fun ways to work on studying through online games in order to continue tutoring and mentoring.
Distance doesn’t diminish the need for strong role models in young people’s lives, and in many cases connecting to them is more essential now than ever before as many are suffering from the new pandemic regulations. Find out which classes are right to connect to the young people in your life!
Here are 10 great ideas for virtually staying connected and an active part of young people’s lives
- Remote Learning Tools for Tutoring — Most students have gone online for classes now. A great way to help participate in helping their education is learning some of the tools they are using to make this possible. Or learn some of the other great free tools you can use to help them create review material or enhance their projects.
Google Classroom — is a virtual classroom where most students have access to their assignments and many classes have shifted here to help with organization and planning.
Google Docs- has become a default space for students to write essays and collaborate for written assignments.
Google Slides — helps students to make great presentations for class projects.
There are many great free tools available to help students review as well by creating flashcards, games or other activities using Quizlet, Quizizz, and Kahoot are all tools with free versions that you can use with your grandchildren
3. WhatsApp — For families that are scattered around the world, Whatsapp offers a great platform to call, video chat, share audios, images, and more to stay in constant contact without all the fees. Learn how to use Whatsapp to connect to your family around the globe!
4. Duolingo — Many families more and more are becoming bilingual. If your grandchild speaks a foreign language based on where the family is living or you want to learn one together to connect with your roots, why not take a step to be closer together by learning a language? Through Duolingo, you can even learn together with challenges that help develop language skills.
5. Connect on Instagram — Most grandkids don’t have Facebook these days, but sharing photos on Instagram is still a popular social media. Learn how you can use Instagram to see what your grandkids are up to and share your stories as well.
6. Play Games Remotely — There are great games to play with grandchildren from Uno to Words with Friends or Scrabble that each person can play on their own timeline. App-based games can be a way to connect in real-time, or a gentle reminder you are there with harder to reach teenager or adult grandchildren.
7. Sharing Youtube Videos — Do you have a flair for theatrics? Why not record a video and share it with your grandchildren. That could be reading a bedtime story, or about a life experience, you had that might help them with a school assignment. This is a great what to connect and give your grandchildren the ability to see you over and over again.
8. Snapchat — Sometimes connecting with grandkids through their social media is the best way to get a response. Snapchat is a popular chat for young people that allows chats that disappear kind of like ‘secrets’ to come and go to provide a more intimate chat experience. Learn how to make Snapchat a shared family experience!
9. Virtual Exercise Together — Why not find a virtual exercise class together? Take a yoga class together or aerobics online. A bit of sweat keeps everyone healthy and provides a great shared experience!
10. Take the Tiktok Challenge — If you like a challenge, why not join the TikTok world, where you can participate in different challenge activities and compete and share with your grandchildren for fun video ideas.
These are just a few ideas for grandparents to connect remotely with their grandkids. GetSetUp knows the importance of these connections so we offer live interactive classes for participants to learn these tools and share their experiences. Join a class to learn a tool that will help you connect with the children in your life better — despite the distance!