3/26/2014

Long Distance Grandparenting

We just returned from visiting our six-year-old twin grandsons last week. It's tough living more than 2,000 miles away. Reasonable airfare is also tough to find and our travel money has to be used wisely. Our priority for the last six years has been to build a strong relationship with our grandsons even if we can't be physically present on a regular basis. Technology has made it a whole lot easier, but that's not the only means to building close ties with those little boys.

Since today's families tend to be scattered, here are some things I've learned along the way as a long distance grandparent.

1. Consistent Contact - You can do this in a number of ways and the variety is enjoyable.  Phone calls, Skype or Face Time, cards, email. Use them all. What a great gift to video call grandkids! We can do that for free, and what fun to see their school work, new shoes, or anything else that's happening. We've set aside Sunday afternoons for many years to connect with family.

2.  Memory Books - Keep those memories of being together fresh by assembling little photo albums. It's so easy to print out photos of visits in any size and put together a story of your last visit. It's a fun gift to send by mail as a reminder of your good time, along with a note talking about the next visit. I've done them as mini scrapbooks, photo books through Shutterfly, or I've created virtual albums using Smilebox. This is a free program you can download to your computer. Our grandsons are hooked on the collection Smileboxes I've done since they were born. They love all the stories we recount as we view each album--several times.

3.  Special Activities - There are certain activities we just have to do when we visit. The boys can hardly wait to bake bread with me or go treasure hunting (geocaching) with Grandpa. A visit to Dunkin' Donuts after treasure hunting is also expected. We have exciting games of hide-and-seek in a local park, play Go Fish, and read piles of books. We don't do exotic or expensive outings, but we sure have a bunch of fun. We're building special traditions and many fond memories of our adventures whether inside or outdoors. The ordinary is special if you're doing the activity together.

4. Presents - Of course gifts are a part of grandparenting. Birthdays and Christmas go without saying, but little gifts throughout the year help stay in touch. Gifts don't have to be expensive, and books are favorites of mine to send. Rewards for milestones like potty training, or a good report card, or a "just because" gift keep you involved in their lives.

Treasure hunting with Grandpa
Everyone's style is different, but don't let distance keep you from a close relationship with your grandchildren. Learn the technology, work at staying in touch, and building great memories. It's an investment with big returns.

1 comment:

Rose Ciccarelli said...

This is a really nice piece and brought a tear to my eye.

Positively encouraging

3/26/2014

Long Distance Grandparenting

We just returned from visiting our six-year-old twin grandsons last week. It's tough living more than 2,000 miles away. Reasonable airfare is also tough to find and our travel money has to be used wisely. Our priority for the last six years has been to build a strong relationship with our grandsons even if we can't be physically present on a regular basis. Technology has made it a whole lot easier, but that's not the only means to building close ties with those little boys.

Since today's families tend to be scattered, here are some things I've learned along the way as a long distance grandparent.

1. Consistent Contact - You can do this in a number of ways and the variety is enjoyable.  Phone calls, Skype or Face Time, cards, email. Use them all. What a great gift to video call grandkids! We can do that for free, and what fun to see their school work, new shoes, or anything else that's happening. We've set aside Sunday afternoons for many years to connect with family.

2.  Memory Books - Keep those memories of being together fresh by assembling little photo albums. It's so easy to print out photos of visits in any size and put together a story of your last visit. It's a fun gift to send by mail as a reminder of your good time, along with a note talking about the next visit. I've done them as mini scrapbooks, photo books through Shutterfly, or I've created virtual albums using Smilebox. This is a free program you can download to your computer. Our grandsons are hooked on the collection Smileboxes I've done since they were born. They love all the stories we recount as we view each album--several times.

3.  Special Activities - There are certain activities we just have to do when we visit. The boys can hardly wait to bake bread with me or go treasure hunting (geocaching) with Grandpa. A visit to Dunkin' Donuts after treasure hunting is also expected. We have exciting games of hide-and-seek in a local park, play Go Fish, and read piles of books. We don't do exotic or expensive outings, but we sure have a bunch of fun. We're building special traditions and many fond memories of our adventures whether inside or outdoors. The ordinary is special if you're doing the activity together.

4. Presents - Of course gifts are a part of grandparenting. Birthdays and Christmas go without saying, but little gifts throughout the year help stay in touch. Gifts don't have to be expensive, and books are favorites of mine to send. Rewards for milestones like potty training, or a good report card, or a "just because" gift keep you involved in their lives.

Treasure hunting with Grandpa
Everyone's style is different, but don't let distance keep you from a close relationship with your grandchildren. Learn the technology, work at staying in touch, and building great memories. It's an investment with big returns.

1 comment:

Rose Ciccarelli said...

This is a really nice piece and brought a tear to my eye.