Are you a long distant grandparent? Here are a few tips to stay involved.
We embrace social media to engage with our grandchildren.
It is great to talk on the phone, but why not use FaceTime so you can see each other’s expressions? Seeing their smiles is just as important as hearing them laugh. You can also tell if they are starting to get bored or frustrated with questions you may be asking about their studies, sports activities, or their social life. Texting is useful because kid’s schedules are very busy, and they can reply when they are able. They love to attach photos to texts, and may even enjoy seeing a few of our own snapshots or videos.
We take trips with them rather than just send gifts.
Our granddaughters talk about past adventures years after they have happened, and they may remember things that we didn’t realize made an impression at the time. We always ask what they liked best about a place or event. At age 10, each of them chose a city to visit, so we turned them into “girl’s trips.” This took us to NYC 3 times. Each was a different experience through their eyes. We also went to Hawaii, and toured many sites of natural beauty, When we asked what one of our granddaughters liked best, she said, “touring Pearl Harbor, because there was so much to learn.”
We know everyone is taking a lot of pictures, but after an experience we’ve enjoyed together, we can all see things from a different angle. We also try to make sure they get out from behind the camera to observe what is going on around them.
We want them to know that education is paramount and that it cannot be taken away from them.
We try to visit their schools and meet their friends, if we can make a trip during the school year. Asking what they think the school might need, like books for the library, helps them feel that we are teaming up in making a difference to the education of others. We have a lot of art history books, and our granddaughter, Sophie, thought her teacher would be happy to have them. For those in college, we buy their study materials, hoping to send the message that what they are studying matters to us. They are very good about only buying what they need, as they have our credit card information safely filed, we hope (haha). They must have figured out that if they abuse the privilege, they may be paying for their own books!
We let them know that their faith journey is important to us.
We support their involvement in any way they they choose to reach out to their community or the world through missions.
Most importantly, our grandchildren know we are nearby every day in spirit.