Your Guide to Long-Distance Grandparenting
Being a grandparent can be such a rewarding and fulfilling experience for any senior. Grandchildren can bring such joy and laughter to anyone’s life. However, being a grandparent can be difficult and at times heart wrenching when you live long-distance.
Long-distance grandparenting can be hard, especially when you want to be there for every little moment of your grandchild’s life. While many times, there is nothing you can do to make the distance shorter, there are things that you can do as a grandparent to help make the distance easier.
Especially around this time of year, being a long distant grandparent can seem tougher than normal, so take a look at this simple guide to maintaining a strong grandparent/grandchild dynamic, no matter where you may live.
Plan Regular Visits Throughout the Year
While this may take a little organizing with Mom and Dad, a great way to keep the bond close is to make sure that you plan regular visits throughout the year. Children often find it more comforting when they know exactly when their grandparent will be back for a visit.
These regular visits can keep the bond close and make sure that you have worked in plenty of time to spend with your grandchildren throughout the year. However, there a few things to keep in mind as you schedule these visits.
- While it’s great to have both parties visit each other, it can be difficult to schedule for older children during the school year.
- The right amount of time for a visit is important, while long trips can be fun they can be very tiring for both kids and grandparents.
- Make sure the visiting party has the right accommodations during their visit.
Help Your Grandchildren Feel at Home When They Visit
It can be a lot of fun for a grandparent to have their grandchild come and visit them. However, it is important to remember that kids are kids and they have certain needs. Kids also can get homesick easily, no matter how excited they are to visit Grandma and Grandpa.
Make sure that you have some toys stored away in your home and a few special touches throughout the space to help them feel at home. Maybe it’s a night light, or a favorite book or a new stuffed animal of their favorite character.
Little touches like this will help your grandchild feel special when they visit and feel more “at home” when they’re at their grandparents.
Send Them Letters or Packages
It is such a novelty for most kids to get anything in the mail, so sending them mail is a great way to help grandchildren feel special. Something as simple as a handwritten letter will do, or you can get creative around certain holidays and send them things like Halloween gift boxes in the mail.
This is just another easy way to remind your grandchildren that even though you aren’t there in person, you are still thinking of them.
Have Mom and Dad Send You the Big Video Moments
Whether it was your grandchild’s Holiday Recital at school, the first time riding the bike or their big soccer game, there are a lot of big moments that you unfortunately won’t be able to be there for. Make sure that Mom and Dad are not only recording these big moments but sending them to you.
After you watch these videos, you can have a quick chat with your grandchild and let them know that you saw their big moment, so the two of you can go through the entire experience together.
Video Chatting is Key!
While new technologies can sometimes be hard to adapt to—they can be a great asset if you are a long distance parent. This is especially true when it comes to using video chatting. FaceTime, Google Hangouts and Skype are all great options for grandparents to help stay in touch with their grandkids.
While video chatting may not be the same as being there in person, it is much more personal than a phone call or text. You cannot only engage in meaningful conversations with your grandchild, but this is also a time where they can show you art work, games and new toys they have…making it almost seem like you are there.
Try to set up regular times for video calls so that you can make it a normal part of your routine. It is also a fun time to see your adult children as well!
Be Prepared for Disappointments
It can be hard to be a grandparent from far away and there are going to be times when you feel disappointed. Maybe the other set of grandparents visit more often, or your children aren’t sending you as many photo updates as you want, or even your grandchild picks going to a friend’s birthday party over coming to see you—disappointments are going to happen.
Be prepared for them and be willing to go with the punches. And try not to worry that your grandchild won’t know who you are. Just because you are far away it doesn’t mean that they won’t have a relationship with you and that you won’t always hold a special place in your heart.
Remember, You Can’t Be There for Everything
Grandparent guilt is a real thing. However, you need to remember that you can’t be there for everything, and you need to maintain your own interests and your own life. Finding a balance is hard, especially when you want to be there for everything. However, the more you can do to make the most of the time you do have together the better you all will be.
While being a long-distance grandparent can be difficult no matter where you live, keep these tips in mind as you work to keep a close bond with your grandchildren even from afar.
- Lori Thomas has decades of experience as a caregiver. Her writing for SeniorAdvice.com is informed by years of research as well as hands-on family experience caring for her now late mother, who had chronic health issues for most of her life. Lori is an integral part of the SeniorAdvice.com management team, acting as Vice President of Marketing and Chief Editor.
- 2020.02.20General Senior LivingYour Guide to Long-Distance Grandparenting
- 2020.02.20General Senior LivingHome Design Tips for People Struggling With Sight
- 2020.02.20General Senior LivingSpring Cleaning Tips for Seniors
- 2020.02.20General Senior Living16 Great Exercises Seniors Can Do Outside This Spring