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How to keep in touch with grandparents across the miles

The holidays are often a season for catching up with family. This year was no exception for us. We spent Christmas with my in-laws and New Year with my parents. It was busy and just a little bit noisy…

The kids were so excited to see their grandparents face to face! We live in a different country from both sets of grandparents. It was so sweet to see their relationship blossom.

Living a long way from grandparents is pretty common in our day and age. It got me thinking about the best ways to keep in touch, and to nurture that precious grandchild/grandparent bond.

As my kids get older, I picture them phoning up Grandma for a good old chat and having that depth of relationship, independent of myself. But how can I help establish that relationship now when we live so far away?

Here’s s few ideas to help your kids keep in touch with their grandparents, even at a distance:

Send some old fashioned post  

You really can’t beat getting post. Something to really get hold of! My kids love sending coloring, craft and little letters in the post. And my parents and parents-in-law often send postcards addressed just to the kids. Getting their own post is the business.

And it makes everyone feel more connected. The post and pictures make their way onto the fridge door for awhile, so the relationship stays in full view.

Make the most of technology

I’m a huge fan of Skype and Facetime. But if you’ve ever tried to have coherent conversations with overly excited pre-schoolers bouncing around and a marauding baby constantly threatening to shut the laptop, you’ll know the communication can be limited.

Kids really need help to communicate over the computer. We usually think beforehand about some stories and adventures from our week that we want to share with Grandma and Grandpa. Because mine can’t be the only 6 year old who answers every question with “I dunno” or “I can’t remember”… Sometimes it turns into a bit of ‘show and tell’.

With the little ones, they love it when their grandparents read them books, just like they do when they visit in person. It’s the closest thing to a virtual hug for them.

Keep the grandparents up to date

Of course you want to keep each other informed about visit to the ER and significant things. But I’m also talking about the little things, like a new wobbly tooth or a brave new haircut.

It’s also a good idea to keep the grandparents involved in your kids’ current interests, especially if they change with the wind. No grandparent wants to send a Minions dvd if actually you all moved on to Star Wars months ago.

Make photo books of trips and special occasions

A copy for yourselves, and a copy for Grandma and Grandpa! This is one of my good intentions which hasn’t quite materialized. But I know my kids would appreciate it, and so would the older generation. It’ll be something to really treasure in the long run.

Make the most of visits in person

I know, that’s really obvious. But try to factor in time to make memories with your kids and your parents.  Sometimes I find that when we all get together, it is so busy just getting everyone organized enough to leave the house. Take photos of the little things, like bedtime stories and making cookies. Sometimes these make the sweetest memories for everyone.

 

Elizabeth blogs at Beautiful Small Kitchen, all about the fun of kitchens, family life and anything home-related. She has survived 4 kids under 5, and is currently expecting her fifth little one. Follow along on Pinterest for some mom life tips and beautiful home ideas.

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