Many of our kids move cross-country when they go to college or various other things, and most never move back to where their childhood memories-and their parents- reside. However, we can’t just pick up our anchors and go to wherever they are when they begin to put down their roots and start their own families. It can be difficult to keep in touch with your grandchildren when they are growing up outside of driving distance, but with these few simple ideas, this is a problem that can be easily remedied.
If you have kids that are old enough to write, even if just barely, consider buying a notebook- a simple spiral will do, or you can choose to purchase a nicer hard-bound one- to travel in your place. You and your grandchildren can take turns writing messages to one another in the notebook and sending it back and forth through the mail (a manila folder works well). Whether it is a simple hello or a long narrative catching you up on what’s going on in their lives, this is a great way to hear about what’s going on with them, and the cost to send along the folder through the post is a fraction of the cost of airfare.
Get Tech Savvy
Kids these days are immersed in the age of technology, and sometimes it is hard to tear them away from their precious smartphones and computers. So why not communicate with them through those things? There are many internet services and apps that allow for easy contact in long-distance relationships. For video chatting, try FaceTime if you have iOS or Skype if you have Android. A friendly, simple text won’t be lost on them with their eyes glued to the screen. Even try playing an internet-based game where the two of you can play together virtually. Kids these days are sure to be receptive if you talk to them in their native language: binary.
Find Something to Bond Over
This may seem obvious, but you may be surprised by how many grandparents miss bonding with their grandkids because they simply don’t know what to say. It’s no surprise that with the fast pace of life, it is hard to keep up with everything your grandchildren are doing, especially if you don’t have the opportunity to talk to them daily. Rather than making them recount their most recent soccer game or ballet lesson over the phone, come up with a creative idea with them for something you guys can do together (yet apart) and discuss the next time you pick up the phone. Some ideas include reading the same book, trying out new recipes with their parents, creating a fantasy sports league, or even just viewing the same old picture of one their older relatives and sharing stories about what they were like. It’s amazing how kids will pay attention if they are entertained.