The grandparent-grandchild bond is a very special thing, nourishing both young and old. But what about those grandparents who live too far away to make frequent visits? How can they remain connected and ensure they have a positive impact on their grandkids lives?
No matter how far you live from your grandchildren, it’s possible to maintain a strong attachment. But as the grandparent, it’s up to you to keep things interesting. So here are some fresh ideas to get you started.
a picture tells a thousand words
If you want a close relationship with grandchildren, you need to paint them a picture of who you are. The most obvious place to start is to send them a photo of yourself and ask their parents to stick it in a place where they can see it every day. But it doesn’t have to stop there.
Sending grandchildren photos regularly will give them an illustration of what you’re like, how you spend your time and who you spend it with. You can send them photos of your home, your pets, what you eat for dinner or just you spending time with friends. You could even send them a photo of the table or wall where you keep all the photos of them! Then they can see how important they are to you.
letters and beyond
Mail is fun and exciting for children and can help you bond with grandkids from afar. Of course letters are a good place to start but it’s also good to mix it up a bit to get more interaction from your grandchildren.
Some other good ideas to send in the post are:
- Care packages with some of their favourite foods
- A scrapbook and art supplies
- A disposal camera to take photos of themselves to return to you
- A tape or CD of you reading their favourite book or telling them a story
- A video showing ‘a day in the life of grandma and grandpa’
- Jokes, riddles and games
- A colouring-in book or craft set to return completed to you
- Blank self-addressed post cards for them to draw you pictures on
The more creative you are, the more your personality will shine through, and the more likely kids will be to respond. But remember if you want something back in return, it helps to include a stamped, self addressed envelope.
For those of you brave enough to explore it, the internet can be a blessing for long distance relationships.
Email is a great place to start, allowing you send and receive regular updates and photos. On top of that you can also sign-up for your email provider’s instant messaging service. This will let you chat to your grandkids from your desktop in real time and won’t cost you a cent. Just make sure you sign-up for the same service as your grandkids. Hotmail has MSN Messenger, Gmail has Google Talk and Yahoo has Yahoo Messenger.
Alternatively, you can get a Skype account. This allows you to make discounted calls to mobiles or home phones, or better yet free calls from one Skype account to another. Best of all, provided you both have webcams you can even make video phone calls to grandkids. This sure beats the telephone for connecting with young kids, letting you sing songs, read books or play games. And because it’s face-to-face, you can even communicate with grandkids before they can speak.
When it comes to teenage grandchildren, or even adult grandchildren travelling across the globe, you may want to consider social networks like facebook. These allow you to keep up with grandkids who don’t have a lot of time.
Once you become friends on facebook, you immediately get access to a variety of things they post on their page. This includes status updates (short messages about what they are doing), holiday snaps, videos and things their friends are saying about them. You can contribute by making comments, signalling which things you like on their page or sending messages to their inbox.
Of course being far away from your grandkids isn’t the ideal scenario. But with a bit of imagination and today’s technology, you can still have a close and fulfilling relationship.
What do you do to stay close to your grandchildren? Please feel free to comment below.