Long Distance Grandparenting

Tips to help you keep the bond or create a bond with your grandkids who live far away.

I got a call from a long time friend a few days ago. She was in tears because she found out that her son, who lives in the same town as she does, just found out he would be transferred in a month to a city thousands of miles away from where she lives.

It’s bad enough to be so far apart from her son but what is breaking her heart is that she will no longer see her 3 grandkids on a daily basis as she has been for their whole lives.

I felt so bad for her and wondered what I would do if it happened to me. My grandkids live 5 minutes away. I care for them while their parents work so I see them almost every day. I can’t imagine my life without them.

But it happens to so many of us. We are such a transient society now and people rarely stay in one place for very long now a days.

So I decided to do some research. I asked some friends who are long distance grandparents and I did some research online too.

So here’s some tips on how to make or keep the bond with your long distance grandchildren.

1-Call Regularly

We are so lucky in this day and age that we can call anywhere in the world with our cell phone or computer. Not only are the huge long distance charges from years ago a thing of the past, but we now can actually see each other!

You can face-time with iphones. Android phones have an app called Imo . You can use a free app on your computer called Zoom for video chat calls or use the old standby Skype.

And what can you do during these calls to your precious grandkids?

Read Them a Book.

You can read them a bedtime story. Or buy 2 of the same book. Mail one to your grandchild. Then you can read it to them while they follow along with their copy of the book.

Watch a Television Show Together

Find a TV show you both will enjoy and watch it together while face timing. Watching TV is always more fun when watching with someone else.

Start a Hobby Together

You can play chess online, learn to crochet together, or paint together.

Share your progress during your calls or even do the hobby while you are on the call.

Plant Some Seeds Together

Send your grandchild a little garden kit with seeds, a small bag of soil, a pot and small trowel. Have the same seeds and stuff at your home. You can plant your seeds together while on your video call. Be sure to update them weekly on the progress of your plant and ask them about theirs.

2-Visit as Often as You Can

If finances are an issue, you could see if your child and their spouse would help with the flight cost. Offer to watch the kids for a few days so they can go off for a mini vacation, just the two of them.

You can also sign up to several travel sites to get notices of sales on flights.

Plan Vacations Together

Every few years, my inlaws and I all get together and rent a beach house for a week. It’s a great time to catch up and have fun and it makes wonderful memories for us and the children too.

3-Have the Grandkids Visit You

You could also plan vacations with your adult child’s family and meet them at the destination. What great family memories you can make.

Offer to take care of the grandkids at your home for a week or two during summer or Christmas vacation.

Plant a Tree

One fun thing to do while they are at your house is to go to a nursery and have each grandchild pick out a tree. Then plant the tree together in your yard.

Take a photo of the child by the tree. Every time they visit, take another photo of the child with their tree. It will be amazing in the years to come to see how they both grow. You can make prints of the photos and keep them in a small photo album to give to the grandchild when they are grown.

And be sure to send photos to your grandchild of the tree when it’s blooming in the Spring or when it’s changing colors in the Fall.

Reminisce About Your Grandchild’s Parent

While your grandchild is at your home, take them to local places that were important to your children when they were growing up.

Show them the schools they attended, the restaurants or hangouts they liked, and other places they loved such as the beach, skating rink, etc.

At home, show them photos of their parent growing up and tell them stories about when their parent was a child. Kids love learning about their parents’ childhoods.

4-Mail Them Things

Kids love receiving things in the mail. Don’t we all? Except for bills, and junk mail of course.

Mail Things for no Particular Reason at All

Regularly send them mail. It doesn’t have to cost much money. You can save the money costing gifts for birthdays and holidays.

Some things to send to your grandchild:

  • Stickers
  • Coloring papers
  • Handwritten letter
  • Photos
  • Cards
  • Comic books

Remember Them On Special Occasions

Be sure to remember them on their birthdays and Christmas. This is the time for a card and gift if you can afford it. If you have no idea what to get older kids, you can ask them, their parents or just send a gift card.

Also a card, flowers or small gift are appropriate but not mandatory of course for special events in your grandchild’s life such as dance recitals, graduations, etc.

5-Miscellaneous Tips

  • Older kids and teens usually have their own phone, so keep in touch by texting.
  • Also with older kids, find out what they are into and learn about it. Or you may find out you have the same interest. I bonded with my teen-aged nephew when I discovered he loved The Walking Dead comic books as much as I do. I made a point of saving them after I finished them and then give them to him whenever I visit my sister. He really looks forward to this and we have a good time discussing the stories.
  • When you travel to other places, send your grandkids a postcard from wherever you are. They love them.
  • Another way to keep in touch is to start a joint free website on blogger.com. It’s simple to use and both you and your grandkids can add family news, photos, and other information. Don’t worry about it being public. Unless you publicize the site to others, odds are outsiders will never see it. And if I remember correctly, there is a setting to keep it private.
  • You can also make a group for your family on Facebook and mark it as private or closed so others won’t be able to join unless you add them. My sister in law does this with our Bunco group.

Check out this great video on long distance grandparenting: </p>

I hope this post has sparked some ideas for you. Yes, you will have to put forth some effort to keep the bond going but those kids are worth it aren’t they?

Please leave a comment and let me know how you keep a relationship with your grandkids going when they live far away. I’d love to add your tip to the post.

This post linked to the GRAND Social

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