Staying Connected with Grandparents Across the Miles
In this day and age, more and more people are living geographically remotely from their extended family units. Mom or Dad gets a great job offer in another state, and the next thing you know, they and the kids are packed and moving away from grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Here are some ways to keep grandparents and grandchildren connected across the miles that separate them.
1. Telephone calls
2. E-mail messages
3. Instant messages
6. Social networking sites
7. Vacations doubling as family visits
8. Mailed cards and gifts on occasions of significance (i.e., grandparents’ wedding anniversary, grandchildren’s birthdays, etc.)
Not all grandparents will have computers or cellular telephones. No all grandchildren will, either. However, most grandparents and grandchildren have regular access to a telephone of some sort (for example, a land line telephone), and vacation visits and mailed cards and gifts are also viable options for most grandparents and grandchildren.
To use these connection opportunities well, grandparents and grandchildren (or parents on behalf of grandchildren) need to put forth a consistent effort to keep the lines of communication open. It’s comparatively easy to communicate frequently with someone who lives next door to you: they’re right there . . . all you have to do is say “hi” over the fence. However, long distance communication requires faithful perseverance. For example, Sunday may be declared “family day”. On that day, grandchildren know to set aside 7:00 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. for a call from their grandparents. Or perhaps the grandparents can Skype the grandchildren so that they can see as well as hear each other. Grandparents and grandchildren can text or e-mail each other as events arise. For example, a grandchild may text her grandparents the following: “First date in 2 days! So excited!” or “Happy Easter!”. Or grandparents and grandchildren can “friend” or connect with each other via social networking sites so that they can stay abreast of the happenings in each other’s lives.
No matter what medium(s) of communication is/are used, the communication should occur regularly and frequently. Geographic distance doesn’t have to separate grandparents and grandchildren.