At the end of last year I decided to go down to working four days a week so I could spend one day each week looking after and playing with my new granddaughter. We were just getting into a super routine and I was watching this little bundle of life grow and develop each time I saw her. I really loved this time with my own children, but being a grandparent came with a new and different kind of love that completely took me by surprise!

The lockdown has halted my face to face time and cuddles with my granddaughter, so it was time to think creatively about ways to still keep connected and in communication with a 16 month old toddler who still only has the concentration span of a gnat.

So with her mum and dad we arranged regular Skype/Zoom times where she could still see me and hear my voice.

I think the first thing I noticed was it took several calls before my granddaughter started to show any interest in interacting with the laptop screen, so calling young children regularly is important to give them time to start to recognise you.

Activities we have enjoyed doing together:

  • Playing peek-a-boo behind hands, scarfs etc. ask them to copy
  • Clapping hands, wiggling fingers etc. can they copy
  • Point to features on my face and ask them to copy ‘Where’s your nose?’
  • Lots of nursery rhymes with actions

Tell a short story or sing a song using hand puppets and finger puppets. My granddaughter’s favourite this week has been ‘Two little dickie birds sitting on a wall’, watching her looking into the laptop screen to see where the finger puppet birds had disappeared to is amusing!

We have also shared snack times together, I find out from her mum what she is going to give my granddaughter and I eat the same things, such as carrot sticks, tomatoes, fruit, cheese, bread sticks etc. so I can link it to the vocabulary e.g. crunchy, soft, hard, tasty, sweet, yummy.

I have also tried to show her things on screen that move to help keep her interest. So far we’ve watched a worm wriggling across my hand, a woodlouse rolling up tightly, a snail moving across a plate and fun blowing a paper windmill.

“Keeping Grandma entertained is thirsty work!”

We know that the relationship grandparents have with their grandkids is very special. During this time we need to think creatively of the many things that can be done differently to continue to forge that bond, whether they live on the next street, in the next town or in a different country.

This is just my experience of having a 16 month toddler as a granddaughter during a time when it’s not possible to visit her or hold her.  So no matter how old they are, or what you decide to do with your grandchildren, enjoy your time together, it will show them just how special they are.

So why make all this effort? Well we all know that 99% of a child’s awesomeness comes from their Grandma, just saying….