Now long distance grandparenting doesn’t have to be so difficult. The Internet, social media, YouTube, and Skype have certainly bridged the gap for those who have long distance relationships. But you can also do it the “old fashioned” way (and adapt and enhance these activities by using 21st century technology). The National Long Distance Relationship Building Institute offers these suggestions:
1. Send a jar with the exact number of M&M’s or jellybeans as days that are left until your next visit. Instruct your grandchild or great-grandchild to eat one a day until you are together again.
2. Start a joint family history project. Ask your grandchild or great-grandchild which relatives he or she would like to get to know better and together research stories and information about them.
3. Create an “add-on” story through email or letters. Write a paragraph in your letter and then have your grandchild or great-grandchild write the next paragraph in his or her letter.
4. Write a series of fictional children’s stories describing the adventures you and your grandchild or great-grandchild would have had together if you had grown up together, then ask them to create stories about what adventures you would have if you grew up with them. It will be fun to look at the generational differences and changes.
5. Begin a Life’s Lessons Booklet, where each week you write down a few of the lessons you’ve learned in life and how you acquired those lessons. When the booklet is full, send it to your grandchild or great-grandchild to use as he or she begins or continues their journey of life.
6. Play hide and seek from a distance. Have the parent hide the treats you sent in certain predetermined “hiding spots.” Give out clues on where the treats are hidden as you Skype, talk, or text your grandchildren.
Don’t let the distance make you any less effective in you long distance grandparenting. There are many creative ways to lessen the distance and develop a close relationship as a Grandparent.
Angels Senior Home Solutions is a based-in-faith company that provides in-home healthcare and personal care services for seniors.