Happy Grandparents Day (it’s actually tomorrow!) to all the grandparents in our lives. We cherish you!
Local grandparents is not something that every family is lucky or fortunate enough to have. Many of us live states away…countries away from our extended families and even face the challenge of being in different timezones. Even if your grandparents do live locally, you may find it hard to visit them as regularly as you would like as some of them may live in a senior living community similar to La Posada and you may find it hard to see them during their busy schedules. So how do we help our kids keep up consistent contact with ‘long-distance’ grandparents? Check out some of the ways we are helping our little ones stay connected with their grandparents.
With Ayven having one set of grandparents living in Virginia and the other in Arizona, me working full time, and Ayven having a ton of activities after a full day of school, it’s very challenging to find the time to incorporate them into our day to day lives. But I managed to come up with a few ideas which I have incorporated into our routine that has done wonders for his relationship with all of his grandparents. We always have Skype and FaceTime but we don’t always have time to set up the computer and chat for 20 minutes and that’s assuming he is in a good mood..so here are a few ideas that we do.
Ayven loves to read so his grandmother sends him “record a story” books on a routine basis. That way he hears her voice and gets a story read to him that he loves. On top of that, he gets packages in the mail which makes him even more excited.
For Ayven’s grandfather in Arizona, we make photo collages of all the times he has spent with Ayven on a yearly basis. I let Ayven help me place the pictures and it puts a smile on grandpa’s face seeing all the fun memories he has with his grandson. It’s a great project to do with your kids!
I grew up living with my grandparents in my parents’ home, so when I had Laila, it was important for me to find a way to keep them intertwined in her life somehow, even though they are in New York and we are in California. When she was born, my parents and Amish’s parents came to help us. My mother and my mother-in-law both would sing mantras/songs to her while they were here, ones that I also studied in my yoga training and that I grew up with.
On the weekends, when we FaceTime through our iPhone or iPad, we will have them sing or say them to her. She is 3 months now and when I sing to her, she absolutely adores it, so we want her to feel that same happiness when she hears both her grandmothers’ voices, the way I feel with my own nani, (grandmother). We love that technology can carry these images and sounds of love to our daughter.
Jai’s grandparents all live out of town – one set is in San Diego and the other is on the other coast, in Altanta. It’s obviously impossible for everyone to see him on a daily basis, so we try to FaceTime and Skype several times a week. Jai’s Atlanta Ba (grandmother) and Dada (grandfather) love reading and Jai has shown an interest in books from an early age too. So recently, we decided to begin virtual story time over Skype.
Twice a week at pre-scheduled times, I video call my parents and place Jai in his Mamas and Papas chair. Either Ba or Dada read one of his favorite books (like Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle) to him. Jai adores story time and pays such good attention. I have been so amazed at how well it has been going. I love how he sees their faces and hears their voices reading books that he recognizes. Since story time is happening regularly, I’m thinking he’s making the connection that these are important people in his life and hopefully when they come to visit next, he will already recognize and know who they are by the sounds of their voices especially. I love how Ba and Dada also look forward to it too. It’s a special way to stay connected, helping keep these important relationships strong, no matter the distance.
Ever since my children were born, my parents told me that no matter what “we want to talk or hear them everyday since we live so far apart, even if it’s just a cry or a laugh”. My parents do not live in the same city as we do so they told me that they want the kids to remember them and their voice and never forget them. About a year ago, I lost my father and to this day my mom still keeps this tradition and always reminds my kids of their grandfather.
She tells them stories of the great things he had done & how much he loved them. This is a very simple thing to do just by picking up the phone and calling. It’s an old fashion tradition that never can be forgotten. Something else that is old fashioned is your family tree! With my husband’s parents, we always Face Time on our iPhones. My in-laws love that they can see the kids and talk to them since they live in another state. It’s great to have amazing technology that can keep us in touch!
One last point, My friend recently decided to make a family tree for her grandparents to remind them of all of their lovely relatives. You can make your family tree as well! From what I hear it was a lot of fun.
What are you doing to help keep your family and children stay connected to loved ones that live far away? We want to hear from you!!