You’re at your home, and they are at theirs. And you’re missing one another. It’s important to stay safe, but it’s also important to stay connected. And because your extra efforts will mean even more to them now, your grandkids will remember what you do to keep in touch with them during this time of social distancing. You’ve told them God can use even bad things for His good, so now you have an extraordinary opportunity to let God use you to teach them just that by showering them with your love and attention.
Consider these five suggestions to help you connect with your grandkids:
1. STUDY THE STARS. Regardless of where your grandkids live, the same sky will be over you. Arrange with the parents the best time to call your grands and FaceTime® together on a cloudless night. Younger grands will be excited to lie on a blanket, looking at the multitude of stars and using their imaginations. Ask them what shapes and designs they can make. Help them know how to locate the Big Dipper and the North Star. Is there a full moon? Offer to help older grands study the constellations on safe online sites, and then enjoy locating the patterns in the night sky together. Make special memories as you reflect on God’s power and beauty in creation by reading Psalm 8:1,3-6 and 147:4 aloud. Encourage your grandchildren to memorize the verses as a way to worship our Creator whenever they see the night sky.
2. WRITE A STORY. This is one of my favorite creative pastimes to do with grandchildren because they are so pleased with the results. Set up a convenient time to video chat. Invite your grandchildren to become authors. Your younger grandchild may enjoy illustrating the story as you write what he dictates to you. Don’t worry about grammar. Refuse to add your own details. Just prompt him by asking, “What happened next?” For an older grand, use the video chat time to help her write her story by asking questions like, “Where is the setting? What is the conflict? How will you resolve the conflict? Tell me about the characters.” As you enjoy writing together, use encouraging words to bring out your grandkids’ gifts and virtues: “That shows a lot of creativity God has given you. God must be pleased with the patience you’re showing in your writing.” Plan how will they share their stories with the rest of the family.
3. SHARE A CONVERSATION. Conversation is at the heart of closeness. But we need vehicles to get the communication flowing. Each time you hear a fun question, jot it down. Then the next time you call, text, or video chat, strike up a fun conversation by asking this-or-that questions, such as, “Would you rather sing a song in front of 1,000 people or write a song for one person?” After some fun questions, invite your grands to share questions they’ve been asking lately. This could lead into deeper conversations, such as, “Why do good people suffer?” Assure your grandkids that the big questions have been explored by Christians for generations, so we trust God when we explore the answers in the Bible. Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know the answers. Don’t try to fix everything. Just sharing the questions opens their hearts. Once a discussion takes off, leave the question vehicle behind and be a good listener.
4. DECORATE A SPACE. Everyone needs a quiet space to read, pray, and be creative. Help your grandkids create that space. Younger children are masters at making forts. Mail a box with supplies from your house so they have a bit of you there. Gather an old sheet and draw fun decorations on it. Include a flashlight, a homemade treat, and a Bible story book or coloring book. Older grands will appreciate a place decorated especially for them with a framed picture, notepad, and teen devotional; and don’t forget the snacks. Encourage your grands to visit their special place every day to read their Bibles and pray. Share pictures of your special place and ask them to send you pictures of theirs.
5. CREATE A LEGACY. Nothing can draw you closer than to pray for your grandchildren. Imagine the love and joy on their faces if they could read your prayers for them. Order a Legacy Notetaking Bible to record your prayers and words of encouragement in the margins. Select a special time in the near future to send the Bible to let your grandchildren know how you’ve been praying for them even when you couldn’t be together. Encourage them to continue writing notes and prayers in the Bible as a keepsake to pass down to his children one day.
Until you can be there with hugs, make the most of this time by creating unforgettable memories and making eternal impressions.
Adapted from “Simply Fun” by Karen Dockrey, Mature Living, June, 2019.