When Grandparents Live Far Away

| March 16, 2013 | 10 Comments

Back when I was a child, I saw my grandparents regularly: I slept over their houses about once per month, we would go to their homes for lunch sometimes on the weekends, and they were regular visitors at our home, too. My kids’ grandparents live across the country, though, so visits are rare. Still, I think that they have fairly good relationships with both sets of grandmas and grandpas, despite the distance. If you are in a similar situation, here are some tips for fostering a good grandparent/grandchild relationship:

  • Take advantage of technology. With texting, email and Skype available to just about everyone, there’s no reason that living far away from family means that you won’t be able to keep in touch! My kids enjoy Skyping with their grandparents on holidays, and we exchange photos via our smartphones regularly. My son has a Facebook page, and he keeps in touch with Grandma, Grandpa, Nonni and Poppi that way, too!
  • …But don’t discount old-fashioned snail-mail. Sending school papers, drawings, photos and handwritten letters is a great way for kids to bond with their grandparents. Even better, kids absolutely love getting mail! Encourage children too young to write to draw a picture, and let them dictate a few sentences for you to transcribe. School-aged kids might enjoy showing off their best school papers and tests by mailing them to grandparents, and teens may really appreciate a “penpal” who can offer adult guidance and love without cramping their style, the way parents do.
  • Plan visits when feasible. Flights are expensive, particularly for a whole family, so it’s understandable why long-distance grandparents might not see their grandchildren more than once every year or two. Still, try to make visits happen when they can. Of course, the grandparents can also come to visit you, as long as they are in reasonably good health. When kids are older, consider sending them alone to visit for a week in the summer. Another option is for grandparents to come to you, but then to take the kids for a weekend away in a nearby city. This way, they can cement their bonds and you can have the weekend to relax, knowing that they’re in capable and loving hands.

The bond between grandparents and grandchildren is a special one, and if you are lucky in that your parents are alive, healthy and willing to be involved in your child’s life, it’s great to foster that relationship, even if they live far away. For those parents who have lost their own parents, or for whom a relationship isn’t possible for whatever reason, your kids might enjoy “adopting” a grandparent in your local area. Do this by contacting a nursing home or even your church to find out if there are any lonely senior citizens who are missing their own faraway grandchildren. They could also spend time with a friend’s grandparents; I know that my children love to visit with Granny Pat, one of their friend’s grandmothers who lives nearby. Granny Pat dotes on all of the kids in her grandson’s circle as though they were her own grandchildren to spoil!

What are some ways that your kids have established bonds with grandparents who live far away?

Comments (10)

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  1. nicole w says:

    I’ve always been able to be very close to one grandmother, but not my other grandparents. I always make sure we send them birthday cards, printed or even online, and they really appreciate it and know they’re loved!

  2. Michelle S says:

    Growing up my grandparents lived across the field, and my other grandparents in the same town. When I had my kid we were living in California so my mom loved making an excuse to fly out to Cali to see my little one.

  3. GRANDAD IS IN MICHIGAN SO MY SON HAS ONLY SEEN HIM ONCE AS AN INFANT. He refuses to get internet so we rarely talk.

  4. Stephanie Thompson (Free) says:

    I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t close to my Grandchildren. I babysit them for my Daughter and she has a very hard time trusting anyone else with them. I lived with my Grandparents a lot when I was young but my kids didn’t get to have a close relationship with their Grandparents and it made me very sad so I make sure to be there for my Grandchildren as much as I can. They sure take every bit of my energy though I love to be with them a lot.

  5. Nicole Becker says:

    I am so glad I dont live far away from my granddaughter!! I get her very Friday until Monday and wouldnt have it any other way!!

  6. Kimberly B says:

    I am so lucky to be very close to my grandchildren. I don’t think I could handle being far away.

  7. MADDIE K says:

    I can only hope that if my kids have their own kids and don’t move far away that I will be a huge part of my grandchilds life. If I did live far away Skype would be the ticket. I wished so many times when I was a kid to be able to see and spend time with my grandparents. Skype was not a part of my growing up years so the phone had to do, but it just wasn’t the same. I missed my grandparents so much when they would leave to go home. I used to not wash my pillow case so I could smell my grandmother for a few more days. They are all gone now and I miss them ever so much.

  8. Paula V says:

    I was blessed with grandparents local. Snail mail to g-parents is priceless…most older aren’t into the technology but then more are. I’m sure skyping is a huge benefit these days too.

  9. Dustin says:

    In my country it is very rare to see our grandparents live far away from their family. There are no nursing homes there. They live with us in our family hone so we don’t need technology when communicating with them, not that they would understand how to use all the gadgets we use anyway.

  10. Shefa says:

    My kids live really far from their Grandparents, and also aunts and uncles! We recently just found Google Hangout. It is like skype but they have all these cool add-ons that my kids love. Hats, facial hair and sounds. We actually had 2 birthday parties this month on Google Hangout – even with a cake and burning (virtual) candles!

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