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‘‘I miss grandma and grandpa a lot’’. Impacts of socio-health measures on the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren

Isabel Côté, Christine Gervais, Sophie Doucet, Vicky Lafantaisie

Research Framework: The pandemic has disrupted the daily lives of families for over a year. In addition to the fears and uncertainties associated with COVID-19, the pandemic has required the redefinition of many daily routines, including leisure activities, access to services, work, schooling and interpersonal relationships. Children, who are unlikely to have COVID-19, have nonetheless experienced the impact of social and health measures put in place to address it.

Objectives: Using a child-based approach, this article seeks to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting social and health measures have affected the lives of families, particularly the grandparents/grandchildren relationship.

Methodology: This study uses a longitudinal qualitative design with three measurement times according to the various key moments of the pandemic. A total of 154 children and adolescents were interviewed three times in semi-structured interviews via Zoom.

Results: The results highlights the ways in which grandchildren and grandparents adapted to maintain their relationship during the pandemic. From this study, we find that grandchildren are concerned about their grandparents’ health, but still want face-to-face contact with them, despite the risks.

Conclusions: The relationship between grandchildren and their grandparents is an emotional and lasting one that endures and adapts in times of crisis.

Contribution: This article gives an account of the importance of grandparents in the lives of their grandchildren, particularly in times of crisis. It also provides a better understand of how families have adapted during the pandemic.