If you live far away from family members it can sometimes feel difficult to have a meaningful relationship, especially if you just call or visit on big occasions. However, there are lots of ways to communicate and keep in touch with your grandchildren even when you’re far apart.
Whether you use the internet to communicate, rely on ‘snail mail’, or just need a few tips to help you get more out of your relationship, here are some great ways to stay in touch with your grandchildren.
Using new technologies is one of the best ways to stay in touch with your grandchildren, especially as most children and teenagers are tech savvy.
If you have a device that’s connected to the internet you’ll find a great range of programs available to help you communicate with loved ones.
Video calls are especially good for calling your grandchildren, as lots of children love video and you’ll get to see them more as they’re growing up. When you’re on a video call your grandchildren might tell you what they’ve been doing, show you their toys or clothes, ask you to read them a story, or even play games.
Most tablets, smart phones and laptops come equipped with cameras and microphones, so you don’t need to do anything other than find an app. If you have a computer without a built in camera you’ll find them available cheaply in high street technology stores.
One of the most popular apps for staying in touch across long distances is Skype, a free service that lets you talk to people either on a phone or video call. If you and your grandchildren have Apple devices like iPhones or iPads, then you can also use the Facetime app to talk. Make a regular date to phone each other and have a video call, so you both have something to look forward to.
If video calls aren’t for you, then there are other ways you can use the internet to keep in touch with far off grandchildren. You could play online games like backgammon or chess, send email letters and photographs, or keep up to date with older children on programs like Facebook.
Use The Post
It doesn’t matter what age we are, we love getting mail through the post. It’s always a pleasant surprise to open an unexpected treat from someone we love, and it’s a great thing to do if your grandchildren live far away.
Send your grandchildren regular letters letting them know what you’ve been up to, or funny postcards with little messages on the back. Buy small treats that you think they will like – they don’t have to be expensive, just personal. Maybe a book that you loved as a child, a badge of their favourite band, a new comic you think they will like, or some sweeties.
You could ask your grandchildren to send letters and presents back to you as well. With their parent’s help they could send you drawings, photographs, cards and notes to let you know how they have been getting on.
Depending on how old the children are you might find that the conversation is a little one-sided, with you sending more than them, but it all helps to build a meaningful relationship.
One of the most important things you can do when you’re staying in touch with grandchildren, whether it’s on the phone, using internet video, or through letters, is to be attentive to their lives.
It might seem silly to spend five minutes after a phone call writing up the details, but it can help to make your relationship even more meaningful.
What’s the name of their (current) best friend, their favourite television programme, the band they like? What sport do they like to play, or watch? Do they have an important musical recital, school test, or sports day coming up? Do you have any favourite books, films or music in common?
Being able to bring up these little details when you talk to your grandchildren can make them feel special, and it’s especially helpful when you come to buying birthday and Christmas presents!
What do you do to stay in touch with your grandchildren?