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How To Celebrate Grandpa From A Distance This Father's Day

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Father’s Day isn’t just an opportunity to celebrate dad; it's a reason to honor the patriarch of the pack, too: Grandpa. That's going to be a little bit trickier than usual this year for most families — but you can still celebrate Grandpa this Father’s Day from a distance. With a little creativity and a lot of heart, you'll make his holiday just as special as ever.

“Grandparents are struggling with loneliness and disconnection from their grandkids in the absence of physical contact,” licensed psychotherapist Babita Spinelli, LP, tells Romper. “They are isolated and missing special times with family which makes staying connected with their grandkids extremely important for their mental and emotional well-being.” That's why, as licensed clinical social worker Beth Sonnenberg, LCSW, tells Romper: “It is really important, now more than ever, to celebrate grandpas for Father's Day."

Of course, keeping grandpa safe is important, too. "Senior citizens are most at risk for contracting COVID-19," Sonnenberg says, "and may have underlying health issues that complicate their care.” In years past, a visit to grandpa's nursing home was no big deal. You didn't have to worry about the potential consequences of a big hug and kiss from your toddler to his Pop Pop. But that doesn't mean this Father's Day can't be a happy one for grandpa (and everybody who loves him).

No matter how much distance is between you, these ideas will show him that you appreciate what a wonderful grandfather your kids are so lucky to have.

1. Visit — From A Distance

Just because you're not actually going inside doesn't mean you shouldn't visit. Schedule a time when grandpa can be seated by the window and swing by for a special Father's day show of appreciation. “Reading cards out loud or even a song or dance if there are grandkids who enjoy performing can be a wonderful treat,” says Spinelli.

2. Create A Video

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Sure, you can always FaceTime or schedule a Zoom call, but recording a video of your kids talking about their amazing granddad is extra memorable. “Better yet, compile a bunch of videos from other grandchildren and relatives and set it to music using iMovie,” says Sonnenberg. That way, he can play it over and over again and enjoy the effort that his grandkids put forth to make him happy.

3. Ask Questions

Now that everyone is at home, it could be a great time to try to have your kids connect with their grandfather on an entirely new (and more personal) level. Before giving grandpa a call, dig through some old photos so your kid can ask questions about those times in his life — whether it was serving in the military, or when he married their grandmother. “They can ask about what life was like at that time, or what Father’s Day stands out in his mind as the most memorable,” Dr. Lea Lis, a double board-certified adult and child psychologist, tells Romper. “These more poignant questions can help make the call more emotionally connected.”

4. Plan A Virtual Gift-Giving Party

Part of the joy of Father’s Day is getting Grandpa some sentimental (and sometimes silly) gifts for him to open. The good news is that you don’t have to miss out on this experience just because you’re being a good socially distanced citizen. “Send gifts and cards in advance that can be opened while online,” says Spinelli. “Then, gather other family members or friends who are not in your home to log on and join in on the fun.”

5. Make A Movie Night

Snuggled up and snoozing together in front of the TV might be one of your child’s favorite parts of spending Father’s Day with their grandfather. So make it a movie night with the entire family remotely, even if everyone is sitting on their respective couches. “Pick a family favorite you can all watch together,” suggests Spinelli. “A comedy that elicits a hearty laugh from Grandpa can lighten some of the weight he may be feeling,” she says.

Just because you can’t spend Father’s Day with Grandpa like you have in the past doesn’t mean that this one can’t be memorable or wonderful. In fact, it might be the impetus to create new traditions and seek deeper meaning in the holiday as you celebrate Grandpa remotely — or simply six feet apart for now.

Experts:

Babita Spinelli, LP, licensed psychotherapist

Beth Sonnenberg, LCSW, licensed clinical social worker

Dr. Lea Lis, double board-certified adult and child psychologist