It’s increasingly common for grandparents to live far away from their grandchildren-even if you’re only a city or state away, that can really create a feeling of disconnection. Fortunately, with the advent of the internet and picture cell phones, keeping in touch and staying connected doesn’t have to be a huge challenge. There are now easy and affordable ways that grandparents can stay connected with their grandchildren-even if the physical distance is overwhelming.
You might consider setting up a family blog where family members can enter comments, stories, upload photos and artwork-all from their own homes-wherever they may be. With a blog, various people can have access and you could even do a group story, or keep in touch with all your grandchildren (and children) in one place.
Since many grandparents are so internet savvy now, you might consider learning how to “instant message” in addition to sending e-mails to your grandchildren. If your grandchildren are pre-teens and teenagers, chances are they may spend a fair amount of time instant messaging their friends online. This could be a fun way for a grandparent to “chat” with a grandchild-whether she lives across town, or across the world.
If you have a digital camera or even a web-cam (a video-type camera you can set up on your computer so you can send images of yourself and what’s going on in your home) you can add to your experience so your grandchildren can see pictures from your world and even look at you while you are talking or writing online. If your grandchildren have access to cameras, then you really have an exchange!
Just because there is so much technology available, doesn’t mean you should overlook some good old fashioned classics like sending letters and care packages. Consider sending a video or DVD of you reading a story or singing songs or showing how to prepare a favorite snack (How about grandma’s or grandpa’s cooking show?). Instead of watching a pre-recorded program, your grandchildren catch share some time with grandma or grandpa (or both) instead. You can also encourage your grandchildren to share videos and recordings with you. Some grandparents play games and puzzles that are passed back and forth through the mail or over the internet.
You may also want to find out if their school or sports teams have websites. This way you can check periodically to see what is going on in their school calendars, or even know little snippets like what they had for lunch. Not only can this help you to feel more connected and involved in their every day lives-but the children will feel that they are loved and cherished by grandparents, no matter how far apart the geography may be.