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Vintage Cooperatives

5 Ways to Rock Being a Long Distance Grandparent

Shona Schmall - Tuesday, September 05, 2017

If your family lives far away, it can be difficult with the busyness of life to keep in touch. But there are endless ways to foster strong relationships even with miles or oceans between people! The relationships grandparents can cultivate with their grandchildren are priceless and important. Here are 5 ways to keep in touch with your grandkids, whether they are a transatlantic flight or a 3 hour drive away.

1. Skype/Google Hangout/Facetime.

In other words, any video chat feature that you have on your smartphone or computer! This is especially good for younger grandchildren who may have trouble connecting with you on the phone since they can’t see you. Another fun way to interact via video chat is reading books together. If the grandkids are toddler-aged, picture books are a fun way to connect. If they’re older, you can swap stories or have them show you how to use a new app on your phone! If you just moved in to the co-op, you can give them a tour and show them your new home.

2. Send pictures of you and your pets.

While your grandchildren might have a great time on video chat with you, it’s also fun for them to “see” you all throughout the day. By either mailing or texting, send them a few pictures of you doing what you love - cooking, reading, being outside, coffee time with friends etc. This also gives them context to what you’ve been doing lately, and you can tell them the stories about the pictures next time you talk. If you have pets, be sure to include some photos of them, too!

3. Record an audio storybook.

A lot of card and book stores have audio storybooks for sale. Once purchased, you can record yourself reading the book. It saves your recordings and then auto-plays when the book is opened. This is a fun way to “read” to your grandchildren on a regular basis, and helps them to remember your voice. You can even record you telling stories from your own life -- this would be such a treat and something they would treasure forever!

4. Send gift packages and letters.

For many kids, getting a card, letter, or small gift is quite exciting! You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a big impact, either. Kids enjoy stickers, bookmarks, books, and drawing pads. If they’re older (especially in college) they’d love to get emails, receive cookies, rolls of quarters for laundry, gift cards, pictures, etc. Sending mail and small gifts reminds your grandchildren that you’re thinking about them, and gives them another tangible reminder of you.

5. Play with Apps.

These days there are endless games you can play with your grandkids over the phone: Chess, Solitaire, Scrabble, etc. You can send each other Snapchat videos and pictures with silly filters that will make you both laugh. Check out THIS story about a Snapchat-using grandpa. If you have grandkids in other countries, you can even download smartphone apps that will allow you to call and text without any fees!

No matter how you choose to keep in touch, just remember: The goal of these ideas is to build a strong relationship with your grandchildren, even if you can’t see them on a regular basis.

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