My grandparents lived ten minutes from my house growing up. I could see them just about anytime I wanted to. I spent countless hours with them. My grandmother passed away several years ago; she was my last living grandparent. Although I spent a lot of time with them, I wish I had more time left. Today, my kids live over an hour away from their grandparents so they don’t get to see them as much. As they are aging, I have realized the remaining days we have with them are less than what we’ve already spent. The relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is special.
Although the distance between us is greater, technology affords additional ways to connect. I really want our kids to have a great relationship with them. Fortunately, although the distance between us is greater, technology affords additional ways to connect. Here are 7 ways to connect your kids with their grandparents online and offline.
1. Video chat.
We have just started this with our parents and it is great! There are several options available. You can use Skype, Google Hangouts, or FaceTime. All are great options and allow your kids and your parents to see and hear one another.
2. Quarterly weekends away.
After our kids went to my parent’s house for the weekend, and my wife and I had the weekend alone, we decided we had to do this on a regular basis. Talk to your parents and plan, together, a quarterly weekend away for your kids at their grandparents’ house. Our kids enjoyed sleeping in Granny and Paw Paw’s bed, eating Granny’s cooking, and enjoying breakfast and the morning paper with Paw Paw. At the same time, we enjoyed unlimited and unrestricted dates and a good break.
3. Text messaging.
This is probably the number one way my parents connect with their grandkids. Text messaging has made it easy to send a quick, short message to say hi or get an update on your day. Our kids don’t have cell phones yet, but they are learning to use ours to connect with their grandparents.
4. Don’t miss birthdays.
My wife and my mother-in-law are great about this. They both go out of their way to show up (normally in surprise fashion) on birthdays. If your parents are in driving distance, make sure both your kids and your parents get to see each other and celebrate life on birthdays. Not just the big 60th, 70th, or 80th birthday parties, but as many as you can make.
5. Social media.
Social media has connected the world like no other form of media has. It is user-friendly enough that grandparents can use it. Posting status updates and pictures on Facebook or Instagram is a great way to keep the grandparents in the loop of what is happening in the lives of their grandchildren. As they get older, they can communicate with one another using their social media profiles.
6. Blogs and websites.
Much like social media, a blog can be used to share the latest and greatest things happening in your kids’ lives. And as they get older, your kids can create their own. Show your parents how to subscribe to receive updates of new blog posts; they will be up to date and able to comment on what your kids are doing.
7. Family vacations and road trips.
A few years ago, we went on a family vacation to Disney World and we rented a vehicle and drove. The road trip was long, but it was fun for both grandkids and grandparents. Once we got there, the time we spent was both memorable and fun!
Sound off: What are some other ways to connect our kids with their grandparents?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “How do you think the world will be different when you are a grandparent? What do you think has changed since your grandparents were kids?”