Building bonds between kids and grandparents—wherever they are

Whether they're separated by miles or pandemic protocols, kids still need a relationship with their grandparents. Here's how to nuture one that lasts.

To stay connected with her kids’ pandemic-isolated grandparents, Lisa Mogolov and her husband host weekly video cooking calls. One family chooses the ingredients, and everyone uses them to prepare a meal in their Boston and Kansas City homes. It’s clever, it’s loving, and … it’s not working. “Our kids get very shy and want to hide,” Mogolov says. “Usually it just winds up being me and David talking to his parents.”

Even before COVID-19 sent older adults into hiding, grandparents and great-grandparents could often seem like strangers to kids. Contact might involve gifts of toys meant for someone a tad younger, forced piano performances by parents, really bad jokes, and even worse fashion choices. So figuring out what to say to those out-of-touch people through a camera can be hard. “I think it can be a lot of pressure for kids,” Mogolov says.

Yet keeping up with older relatives has mental and physical health benefits for everyone, whether you’re checking in on someone during a pandemic or just encouraging better relationships with your kids. That’s especially critical now, so that the lessons and stories from older generations can continue to be passed down before they’re forgotten.

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