Are you missing your grandkids? Humans in Geelong writer Deb Howcroft has tackled the challenges of lockdowns and physical distancing from her grandchildren by writing a guide for grandparents on how to connect with grandchildren ‘virtually’.
“While in isolation I thought I’d learn how to self-publish an e-book through Amazon Kindle. I decided to write about something close to my heart; how to maintain the bonds with my young grandchildren through the COVID-19 pandemic, which has imposed the separation of many grandparents from their families.”
Deb said she wrote the small book she called Connected Grandparents: A practical how-to guide for ‘virtual’ grandparents – great ideas to keep grandkids entertained and connected to far-away family, because she hoped that it could be a useful tool for other grandparents during the isolation restrictions.
“I found an editor who was a retired primary school principal and grandmother who added her suggestions, which was an added bonus.
“Whether you can’t see your grandkids because of isolation restrictions, geography or other reasons, you can learn how to use technology and even some old-fashioned tools to keep your place in your grandkids’ hearts.”
Physical isolation does not have to mean social isolation. Technology already plays an integral role in family communications, binding families together in ways which would not have been possible just a decade ago.
“Usually, these calls are somewhat ad hoc, calling and hoping it’s a convenient time. But now these connections seem more important.
“They need to be fun, create memories and establish relationships. And whatever you are planning needs to have input from the parents – you want to help them get through these restrictions as well.”
This book sets out some ideas for how grandparents and grandchildren can stay connected. Many of these suggestions come from grandparents who are separated by geography or other reasons from their grandchildren.
Long-distance grandparents often become incredibly capable and creative with FaceTime, Skype, and other ways of connecting face-to-face. They have learned it is about changing their frame of mind to focus on the bond and the social connection, rather than focusing on the physical distance.
Deb said she discovered tips and tricks that she has put into practice: “Most of the ideas focus on how we can use technology well to entertain and connect with grandchildren, as well as ideas to add relevance to some old-fashioned communication techniques.”
“It also became clear while I was writing the book that grandparents must recognise the anxiety many families will be experiencing, not the least helping the kids with their home schooling and trying to stretch the budget to put food on the table.
“Be guided by them and while it might take a while for grandparents to regain physical access to their families, so establishing these connections as routines now could be just what we all need to get through the months ahead.”
People who don’t have a Kindle can still download the book through Amazon on any computer, mobile device or tablet. Just download the free Kindle app and order books through Amazon and they download to your device instantly.
Through an Amazon promotion, Deb is offering Connected Grandparents to Humans in Geelong readers for free from Friday May 1st to Monday May 4th. Find the link to download the ebook on the Connected Grandparents Facebook page. For readers who do not have an Amazon account, Deb will email a PDF during the same period – send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.