Local grandparents is not something that every family is lucky or fortunate enough to have. We have gotten to experience having them close and will cherish those memories forever.
So how do we help our kids keep up contact with ‘long-distance’ grandparents?
It’s great to have amazing technology that can keep us in touch!
We use skype on a daily basis to keep in touch.
From past cherished moments - How cool is it to have both sets of grandparents in two different countries sharing with us the boys birthdays on skype - everyone singing --- Happy Birthday and watching the boys blow out their candles.
Grandma will read them a bed time story.
Sometimes Bradley talking to his grandparents, giving them instructions on how to download that picture we just sent through email.
Them sitting with us at dinner through skype video.
Boys love reading or singing to them.
You should see the joy and excitement when the boys get a care package from their grandparents. Will have to share some of the videos of their excitement.
Grammy Paula & Grandma Chere' with their boys
Papa Edmond with Bradley & Dylan
Gramps Ivar with Bradley & Dylan
Papa Edmond, Dylan, Gramps Ivar, Grandma Chere', Bradley, Grammy Paula and
Great-grandmother Margaret with her grandchildren (Britt Anne, Forrest, & Kristina) and her great-grandchildren (Kendall, Bradley, & Dylan)
A large percentage of grandparents live more than 200 miles from their grandchildren. Children's lives can change very quickly so long-distance grandparents sometimes struggle trying to keep up with the day-to-day details of their grandkids’ lives. Often, it just requires special efforts to communicate with your grandchild and establish the foundation for a strong long-term relationship.
When your grandchild is a baby, toddler, or very young child, engage the parents to keep up to date on your grandchild’s progress, his or her current interests, and the type of reading or viewing material that might be appropriate. When the child is old enough to interact, whether on the phone, via email, or through regular mail, start engaging the child directly.
Grandparents in the digital age
For the computer-savvy, the Internet can add a whole new dimension to long-distance grandparenting. Email, instant messaging, and video conferencing can all help to shrink the miles and keep you in touch with your grandchildren. Use the available technology to engage your grandchild in creative activities rather than simply asking, “How’s school?” For example, you can play online games with your grandchild, start an online book club or fantasy sports league with them, or share videos of you or your grandkids enjoying a favorite hobby. Try exchanging jokes or favorite family recipes via email, or have them scan or fax report cards or pictures they’ve drawn.
Other ways to stay connected
As well as the Internet, there are plenty of other ways to help long-distance grandparenting:
- Discount long-distance phone plans or inexpensive phone cards (even international ones) make it possible to say in touch regardless of the distance. Try calling at a regular time when your grandchild is not rushed and has time to talk. When talking to your grandchildren, make notes about their interests, books they've been reading, their doll's name—anything you can repeat in the next conversation so they know you've been listening.
- Snail mail. Even before a child can read, he or she will be able to recognize their name on an envelope, and will love the feeling of importance implied by receiving mail.
- Audio or video recordings. You can record yourself reading a few of your favorite children's books and send the recording along with the books, or make a tape of songs you would sing if you were together.
- Family scrapbooks. Kids love to hear stories about their family. If you can’t be with them to recount family stories first hand, try writing them down. Add photos or create a scrapbook (online or off). Encourage your grandkids to add their own memories and photos.
- Make a concerted effort. It’s easy to let the days and weeks slip away without connecting with remote family. But it’s true what they say: Kids grow up so fast. Set up a specific time each week for calls. We often aim for Saturday or Sunday afternoons.
- Use Skype and FaceTime. The video call makes all the difference. You can follow your toddling tornado around so the grandparents can watch the magic.
- Hang up pictures of your family and friends. Let them be familiar faces and point them out to the little ones, a nice reminder that even though they are out of site, they aren’t out of mind.
- Budget for the trips. It’s always worth the money to visit family, but sometimes paying for it stings at the time. Setting aside money for it might help reduce the pain.
* All of these small things communicate your interest and love.
"God gave us loving grandchildren as a reward for all our random acts of kindness."
Anyone who has ever had a relationship with their grandparents knows the unique and special place grandparents hold in family life.
Check out some of the links below with great ways and tips to stay connected with grandparents:
Long-Distance Grandma:How to Stay Connected with Grandkids Far Away
What are you doing to help keep your family connected to loved ones that live far away?