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The pandemic has been tough on family connections, particularly those between grandparents and grandchildren. Older adults are at higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19, and many families are following social distancing to keep their relatives safe and healthy. That means no hugs from grandchildren for lots of Pops and Nanas out there.
Leigh Hamm, a mom of tow, saw the disconnect. And, as owner of Kindermusik of South Wake, she came up with an answer: . The classes, which started this month, are limited to just five families per session so they can really connect with each other. “I would love to help the older population connect with the young grandchildren they don‘t get to see right now both locally and throughout the nation,” she tells me.
I checked in with Hamm to learn more. Here‘s a Q&A:
Go Ask Mom: Why did you want to offer a program for kids and their grandparents?
Leigh Hamm: A few weeks ago, I was talking with a grandparent who had a newly born granddaughter. She was sharing how disappointed she was that she couldn‘t go visit her first grandchild due to COVID-19 concerns and restrictions. It made me think more about how so many grandparents are missing out on moments with their grandchildren and vice versa. So, I decided to create an avenue for this special connection through Kindermusik!
In our in-person classes, we often have grandparents bring their grandchildren and it is a special time for them to bond while the child is learning and making neural connections that will support him or her throughout development. Now that our senior population has to make a special effort to stay safe from Covid-19, time with their grandchildren has been taken away, but in Kindermusik we can still provide a lot of opportunity to share experiences, emotions, learning, and even related outside-of-class activities.
GAM: What‘s planned during the sessions?
LH: Classes will follow our normal Kindermusik structure but will incorporate additional virtual connection activities for grandchildren and their grandparents. Our structure is carefully designed to promote learning the way children learn best. We focus on learning through play and music. We will have a gathering time and hello song followed by activities that help children develop in areas such as focused listening and audio discrimination, literacy, language, and math skills, gross and fine motor skills, bonding and emotional connection and more! Learning through music has also been shown to be beneficial for adults as well.
GAM: When we‘re not in a pandemic, what programs and classes do you usually offer? How long have you been working with Kindermusik?
LH: I was a Kindermusik parent for over five years and decided to go through Kindermusik University a couple of years ago. I have been teaching in Holly Springs and Fuquay Varina and plan to expand to other areas in the triangle. We have classes for ages birth to 1 year, 1-2 years, 18 months to 3 years, 3-5 years and we have Kindermusik for the Young Child which is for ages 5-7 years. More on our classes can be found at .
GAM: How do you hope the virtual programs you have planned bring families closer together during this difficult time?
LH: My goal for our virtual classes is three-part. 1. For children to get the development they need during these years of critical brain growth, 2. For caregivers to bond with their children in ways they may not normally get to, and that bonding ultimately leads to a more smooth day emotionally for everyone, and 3. To provide families with quality music as well as materials that are easy to use at home and can also enhance child development and happiness!
For the virtual program with grandparents, I hope that I can create opportunities for grandparents and grandchildren to connect no matter the distance and even opportunities to do so outside of class!
Go Ask Mom features local moms every Monday.