Grand Parenting From Afar

Grand Parenting From Afar

September 26, 2019

Is this familiar, “Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go”? For most grandparents, we long to leave a legacy by building into the lives of those we love, but long distance grand parenting happens more often a state or even a country away from each other.  Long distance relationships are a common thread that runs through the modern family. 

Grandparents who live long distances from their grandchildren face a particularly difficult challenge in creating close bonds with their grandchildren, but with a little creativity and taking advantage of today’s technologies, it is easier than ever to remain connected.  Now, more than at any time in history, face-to-face conversations are at right at your fingertips. With just a little bit of effort, long distance grandparents can create strong and loving bonds that last a lifetime.

Video chat is an excellent tool for long distance communication. By scheduling a time, weekly or monthly with your grand kids, you can stay involved in their activities and become an important part of their lives.  This “virtual” presence is just as valuable as a physical presence as it allows you to watch the children grow-up, be a part of each accomplishment and not be a stranger to them. 

Here are some creative ideas that will help you create a lifetime bond with your grandchildren who live afar:

  • Set up a Skype account to connect with your family. Use the video chat feature to see each other during the conversation. These video chats will allow you to connect with each family member in a special way.
  • Make sure you have a list of specific questions in mind before you make a call. No one enjoys a boring conversation. One grandmother wrote out a list of questions for her grandson in the Navy.  When he would pull into port, he would give her a call.  She was always ready to make conversation and express how proud she was of his service.
  • To help you create ready conversation starters, consider purchasing “Our Moments Kids”, a deck of conversation cards to help start great conversations. Buy two and share them with your grandchildren.  They love being the one to choose the questions and you may find out some interesting things about them!
  • You can be a cheerleader to your grandchildren by praising them for accomplishments and recognizing areas of growth in their lives. Send them online cards recognizing their wins. One of our favorites are Jacquie Lawson cards an artist who creates interactive cards with illustrations depicting nature and pets that you can download without limits for a $20.00 yearly fee. Kids and adults love getting these cards for celebrations throughout the year.
  • Read a book together. Purchase two of the same book and mail one to your grandchild so that you can turn the pages and read together during video chats. When they get old enough to read on their own, ask them to read their favorite book to you.
  • Attend events through Facebook Live. When they are singing or doing a school presentation, arrange with your children to view it live or in a watch party. (If you want a bit more privacy, you can create a family group on Facebook and broadcast through the group, only allowing family members to view.)  By attending an event virtually, you can also interact with the kids by video chat afterwards.
  • Teach your grandchildren songs over video chat. A missionary I know would Skype with his toddler grandson weekly from Spain.  He would read toddler Bible stories and sing songs with him. Upon returning home after many years on the field, he continues to have a very close relationship with his grandchildren.
  • Research on grand parenting confirms that bonds are best formed through one-on-one time. Each child is different and each wants to feel special in his or her own way.  Be sure to focus time with each child. That may mean separate calls and activities, but it is important for both of you to create a special bond.
  • Last, but not least, take advantage of mail.  Send notes, photos, artwork, cards or packages.  Everyone loves personal mail, and your grandchildren will especially enjoy hearing from you with handwritten greetings.
Android cell phone with Skype app open.  phone has a red case and is sitting on top of a MAC computer

Whether you live hundreds, thousands or even just a few miles away, staying connected with your family brings a joy to life that cannot be replaced with any other relationship.  Start a new tradition today and see how quickly those relationships blossom.

CRISTA Senior Living connects and celebrates generations through connection, community and community.