For Liz MacLaren, 74, and her husband Andrew, 75, it was an absolute joy to be able to help one of their six grandchildren learn to read via video calls during the Covid-19 lockdown. In celebration of Grandparents Day on Sunday 4 October 2020, Liz reveals how she and Andrew, of Millbrook Village, have been using tech to bring them closer as a family, and shares their words of wisdom for younger generations.
“We FaceTime all the grandchildren quite often and have had Zoom video calls with our family during the lockdown, especially with our grandson Archie, aged five. He’s been reading his Oxford Owl school reading books to us and he went up one or two levels during the lockdown, so that was a great use of Zoom.
Our grandchildren have also used FaceTime to show us what they’ve baked, such as bread. We have quite a lot of interaction with them.
Technology has helped us to stay in touch. It’s allowed us to do things as a family, including a bingo session on Zoom, which the grandchildren could join in with. Our grandchildren are aged between four and 12, and all four of our family’s households were able to take part in the bingo at the same time.
With FaceTime and Zoom we can have face-to-face contact, which is so much better than a telephone conversation. And it means that another of our grandchildren, Oliver, 12, can use video to play a piano piece for his grandfather.
Being a grandparent is great fun. When we’ve had our grandchildren to stay, we’ve done lots of visits to National Trust properties, parks, beaches, and other activities, such as Go Ape. When indoors, we do lots of baking, crafts and especially board games – we’re a very competitive family.
During the pandemic, I’ve been enjoying the Zoom exercise classes that have been taking place here at Millbrook, and the Zoom quiz nights have been great fun.
Andrew and I have also been doing a lot of online learning about art history, music and French.
The advice I’d give my grandchildren?
To be positive, which they are. I’d also say to think the best of people and to be kind, and that you can do whatever you want in life. Don’t let people tell you that you can’t do something. You can do it.”
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