Nothing is “normal” these days.

While we don’t yet know how bad COVID-19 will ultimately be, we do know that people over 60 are at particular risk for complications, should they become ill.

That has many grandparents sheltering in place and unable to be physically with their grandchildren.

However, many are making extra efforts to maintain a regular presence in their grandkids’ lives during the pandemic, albeit in a different form.

Liz Seegert, a writer for, is a grandparent herself. She understands how difficult it is to be apart. So she reached out to friends and colleagues to see how they were coping.

You can read all of her suggestions on But here’s one idea we thought was worth sharing right here:

Read a Classic Book Together

Thirteen year-old Kincaid, who lives near Minneapolis, FaceTimes grandma Cathy in San Francisco nearly every day, after he’s completed his schoolwork.

He hangs out in his attic for some privacy, while they discuss “To Kill A Mockingbird.” They’re reading it together, while apart.

Kincaid’s dad, a sixth-grade teacher, suggested the classic novel; it was a book Cathy was also interested in rereading. Even better, Kincaid is starting to open up to his grandma about other things in his life, too.

How You Can Do This

Make sure the book is age-appropriate. Check with mom or dad first! You can also ask them to contact the grandchild’s teacher for suggestions. And, make sure it’s something you both will like. Otherwise, the effort is bound to fail.

Read the same edition in the same format, whether it’s a hard copy or e-reader version. It will make it easier to reference specific pages. If it’s not on your bookshelf, major retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble will deliver; some local bookstores may also offer delivery.

Almost all public libraries allow you to electronically “borrow” books for several weeks. It may require setting up an account or virtual library card; make sure to keep parents in the loop.

Many classic books are also available for free download through several reputable websites.

However you approach it, you can’t push it, Cathy says. “If he says he can’t really do it today, I don’t insist or make him pick a time, I just wait,” she adds.