10 tips for long-distance grandparenting

March 5, 2010 at 6:54 pm in Family & Relationships by Storytaker

I’ve read several posts on Vibrant Nation discussing the heartache of grandchildren living long distances from us. I too am a long distance grandparent and have researched and thought up ideas over the past five years to keep in touch in as personal a way as possible, in spite of the distance between me and my grandchildren. Here are my tips. I hope they help other long distance grandmas.

  1. When you know a visit is getting close — send a container of M&M’s with the exact number of days until your next visit. They get to take one out every day until you see each other again.
  2. Snail mail is always good — children of all ages love receiving cards, notes and little presents in the mail.
  3. I also subscribe to an online card service. I send goofy ecards. My two- and five-year-old grandchildren love them!
  4. Write a letter on thin paper and put in a locket and mail to your grandchild.
  5. Send your grandchild a homemade hug that he or she can wrap around him or herself. Make a small blanket out of material and either trace your hands onto felt or other material and decorate them. Then sew onto your blanket. You can also get your photo made onto material and use to decorate your “huggie blanket.”
  6. Most children — any age, boy or girl — loves stuffed animals. I have found that specialty stores are a great place to find these. I recently bought a orange bumble bee that sings “You Are My Sunshine.” As this is the song I sing to my granddaughter when I am with her, she loves it!
  7. I started making chocolate chip cookies with my granddaughter when she was two years old. Every time she comes to my house or I go to see her, she always asks when we are going to make cookies. Now, my two-year-old grandson is helping too. Make your own traditions!
  8. Send a bag of Hershey chocolate kisses. (Parents won’t like this but it’s a grandparent’s job to spoil!) Have their parent give a ‘kiss’ a day from Grandma.
  9. Make a photo album for your grandchild. This can be pictures of you and your grandchild together, pictures of your house — inside and out, past visits, anything that connects you to your grandchild. Make little notes on each photo page, to create a “memory page.”
  10. I’ve saved the best for last! Here is a link to record your voice for free. You can send a message, read a book, sing songs (children’s songs and words are on this site) – and then it will be sent via email to your grandchild. They can play anytime they want! I first went to the library and checked out some children’s books and recorded them and sent to my grandchildren. Then I got a little smarter and bought a book, recorded, then mailed the book to my grandchildren. This way they got to see the story as they listened to me reading it. There are two links that do the same thing – both on Grandparents.com — great site!

Remember, get creative — a little effort makes it all worthwhile!

This list was originally shared in this conversation.

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