Being a grandparent can be one of the most fulfilling and exciting time in a persons life. Grandchildren bring new life into the family, often when you need it most, and getting to know this new little person is a wonderful journey, but what if you live far away? For centuries grandparents have been living in the same home as their children and grandchildren, but in today’s world hundreds or even thousands of miles sometimes separate grandparents and kids.
Many long-distance grandparents, especially grandparents of new babies, worry that their new grand-babies will not know who they are, and they worry about losing that special bond. It can be a challenge to feel disconnected from your family- so what can you do to make sure your grandchildren stay close to you?
Harness the power of pictures. As your grandchild grows up, make sure that they have plenty of pictures of you. Try to let your kids know that it is important to show their children your photo so that when you come visit your grandchildren will recognize you. You can even have a photographer take photos of you and your grandchildren the next time you are all together so that the grandkids will remember the special fun time spent with you.
Harness the power of technology. Web-cams can help you connect on a face to face level with your grandchildren no matter how far away you are. Even if you aren’t 100% tech savvy, there are easy to use web-cams and apps, like Skype or FaceTime that make it as easy to use as making a phone call. Some grandparents also have taken to social media to help them connect with their older grandchildren, making it easier to share pictures and keep up with what is going on in their lives.
Get Creative. The American Grandparents Association recommends that you get creative when it comes to your grandkids with everything from sending hand-written letters to celebrating an un-birthday. An un-birthday can be a fun event, especially if you are not able to make it for your grandchildren’s birthdays- simply pick a day and celebrate an “un-birthday” just like you would celebrate a birthday! Another creative way to connect, especially when you are trying to make sure that younger grandkids know your voice, is to send a recordable voice. These are available at most Hallmark stores, and are easy to record. Your grandchildren will love reading along with your voice, and it will become a keepsake they will cherish for years.
Another great idea from the American Grandparents Association is to send your grandkids disposable cameras and ask them to fill them up with pictures. It can be pictures of them, their pets, their friends, field trips, or just parts of their day. Have their parents send you the camera back and get the photos developed, the next time you see your grandchildren they will be excited to talk about the pictures with you, and you will have an insight into their life!
Being far away doesn’t have to mean being unreachable, so make yourself accessible to your grandchildren if they want to talk. Remember that they might start to have busy lives, but they will not forget about you, and their bond with you will just keep growing.