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Long Distance Grandparenting

 

long-distance-grandparentingJust because you may not live in the same city, state, or even country as your grandkids, doesn’t mean you can’t be close with them in other ways. Here are 3 ideas to make being a grandparent from afar just a little easier:

Bridge the Gap:

You can be far in distance but still be in the same room, thanks to technology today. Phone calls are nice, but video calls are even better! For users of Apple products, FaceTime is an easy way to instantly connect and stay in touch often. If you don’t have an iPhone, additional options for video chat platforms are Skype or Google Hangout. Android users can take advantage of the Video call option. The fun thing about video chat is that the whole family can join in to sit and talk. It almost feels like everyone really is in the same room together! Set up regular video chat sessions to keep up to date on all things going on in your grandkids lives, or request they chat with you after milestone moments in their lives.

Read together:

Is there a book you just know your grandchild would love? You can enjoy a book together, no matter the distance! Send a copy to your grandchild and keep one for yourself. Perhaps your grandchild can read the book to you over the above mentioned video chat, or on a phone call. Or, you can each read a chapter a week, then catch up with each other at the end of the week to talk about it.

Alternatively, recordable books are a fun way for a child to hear their grandparents’ voice any time they want. By recording your voice reading the story, your grandchild will hear the characters come to life, and they will have a loving memory of their grandparent reading to them, even if not in person. My own children have a Christmas book they listen to each Christmas Eve, read to them by my mother who lives in another state. It is their absolute favorite Christmas tradition to listen to this book every year, and they always remark on how they feel like their Nannie is right there with them.

Become pen pals:

Who doesn’t love good old fashioned snail mail from loved ones? Grandkids and grandparents alike will love opening the mail knowing something special is awaiting them. Ideas include: letters in fun envelopes, a notebook to mail back and forth that keeps a dialogue going, special drawings, printed photos, and small handmade gifts. Grandparents, another fun idea would be to send a “letter writing kit”, including fun stationery, colorful pens, stickers, and pre-stamped envelopes addressed back to you. If you think your grandkids would enjoy an interactive exchange, you can mail written “interview questions” to each other. For younger children, the questions can be easy, such as asking their favorite animal or ice cream flavor. Older children may love the challenge of open-ended questions, such as asking what they would do if they were elected king of their school. Get creative with your questions! What a fun way to get to know each other even more!

Being far from loved ones isn’t easy, but you can make it seem like you’re at least a little closer with these fun ideas.

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Read more articles by Angela Hohsfield Beck

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