NEW YORK — A new study is putting into perspective just how hard COVID-19 quarantines have been for American families. Researchers find it’s been more than seven and a half months since the average grandparent has seen all their grandchildren in person.

The survey of 2,000 American grandparents reveals, because of the pandemic, 59 percent have spent less time with their grandchildren during the past year. Of those, four in five said the hardest part of the pandemic was not seeing their grandchildren as often as they usually would.

Moreover, 77 percent of those who’ve spent less time with their grandchildren said it was difficult not being able to watch their children’s kids grow up in person over the past year.

Long distance grandkids

Grandparents covidConducted by OnePoll on behalf of Motel 6, researchers also found the majority of respondents have a unique relationship with each of their grandchildren. However, it’s been more difficult to cultivate those bonds during the ongoing health crisis. That’s especially true for the two in five who had a new grandbaby born over the past year (42%).

Two-thirds (69%) of those with a new grandchild said that what they’re looking forward to most is meeting them for the very first time. Regardless of whether they have a new family member or not, three in five grandparents (59%) plan to spend more time with their grandchildren in the coming year than ever before.

This might come with a big geographic change too. Half the poll (51%) are considering moving closer to their grandchildren, with one-quarter (26%) of those already having made the move. That’ll definitely allow them to make up for lost time — even if some respondents still feel comfortable traveling to see family during the pandemic. However, one-fifth (21%) noted at least one grandchild lives out of driving distance.

Post-pandemic trips already in the works

Grandparents covidWhen it’s safe to travel again, 56 percent of grandparents said the first trip they’re planning to take is to see their grandchildren. Almost half the poll (48%) are already planning that first trip. The top three destinations grandparents are most looking forward to traveling to with their family are the mountains, beaches, and campgrounds.

“As more and more Americans feel ready to travel again, we are thrilled to be able to take part in some of these much-needed family reunions,” says Rob Palleschi, CEO of G6 Hospitality, in a statement. “We will continue to leave the light on for our guests, whether that be grandparents staying with Motel 6 on the way to visit family or for those choosing to stay with us as a way to socially distance for upcoming family visits.”

Socially distant or not, grandparents like to spoil their grandkids, and 54 percent of this survey admit they spoil their grandkids and give them some special “perks” they wouldn’t get from their parents.

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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