Grandparenting From a Distance

September 22, 2011

By Kim Leatherdale

Being a great grandparent can be difficult when your grandchildren live far away.  A grandparent is meant to be a model, a fun confidant, and a source of nourishment.  How can you do this from a distance?

Being a grandparent from a distance takes some extra creativity, organization and planning but will help you remain close with your grandchildren now matter how far away they are.

12 Creative Activities You Can Do With Your Grandchild From a Distance

  1. Treasure hunt: Have the child’s parents hide surprises in predetermined spots around their house.  Then you can give hints about where and what the treasures are.  You can give hints on the phone, in letters, via email, or even via video.
  2. Send letters to your grandchild about your favorite memories of spending time with them and ask them to share their memories.
  3. “Long Distance Kisses” Send the child’s parents a bag of Hershey’s kisses.  Instruct them to give one “long distance” kiss a day to the child “from your grandmother/father.”
  4. Report Card: Send your grandchild a “report card” noting all the great things he/she did last time you visited.
  5. Hello Time: Set aside a time each day when both you and the child will stop and say “hello” as if to each other in person.
  6. Drawing: Do “complete the drawing” together.   Mail your grandchild a line scribble and ask him/her to make it into a picture.  Have your grandchild send  you a scribble you complete.  Exchange finished products. Experiment with meeting software and you may be able to draw simultaneously on separate computers.
  7. Puzzles: Create a personal puzzle.  On stiff paper draw, paint or use collage to make a picture or write all the things you love about your grandchild.  Cut it into wavy edged pieces and send it to your grandchild to put together.  (Blank puzzles are also available at craft stores.)
  8. Random Acts of Kindness: Pick a day where you and your grandchild will do nice things for others.  Then call each other that evening to talk about how it went.
  9. Notes: Write little notes and sayings on a bunch of 3×5 cards.  Have the child’s parents give or hide one daily for your grandchild.
  10. Stories: Write about what it was like when you were a child and send the story to your grandchild.  You can extend the story over multiple letters.  Talk about the differences and similarities when you call them
  11. Countdown: Send a jar filled with the exact number of small surprises (marbles, shells, plastic animals, interesting stones) until your next visit.  Have your grandchild remove one each day until you come.  Have them tell you what trinkets they pulled when you call them.
  12. Share Pictures: Copy pictures and make a small scrap book showing your family history.  Write the stories told by the pictures and send to you grandchild.  Share more stories when you visit.

Additionally technology makes connecting personally and regularly with your grandchildren easier.

  • Skype allows you to see each other.  This way you can see and comment on growth, haircuts, lost teeth, and artwork.
  • Many online programs offer chat capability so you can type back and forth in real time.
  • Online you can create personalized crossword puzzles and games to share.
  • Play a multitude of games from checkers to Jeopardy online together.
  • Make personalized books, photo books, scrapbooks, and calendars online- grandchildren can help choose photos or write captions.

Distance grandparenting may seem daunting, but there are ways to keep in touch and connected.  You just have to be creative and do a little extra work.

Kim Leatherdale About the Author: Kim Leatherdale is a licensed professional counselor and relationship blogger. She offers on-line, phone, and in office counseling and relationship coaching. For more information visit her website: CreatingRewardingRelationships, Facebook page: CreatingRewardingRelationships, or Twitter account: HappyCoupleXprt

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