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How to Manage Being a Long-Distance Grandparent

How do we manage being a long-distance grandparent in our very mobile, modern society? We’ve been both near and far from grandchildren and it’s definitely easier to stay connected when they are close by. Fortunately, modern tools and technology are good for helping connect across the miles, especially with older grandchildren.

Two adults enjoying their time of managing being long-distance grandparents and making the most of their time with their grandchildren.

Direct communication:

One of the great things about cell phones is the ability to call, text, track email, and follow social media in hand. With grandkids, texting can be a great way to touch base regularly. FaceTime or FaceBook Messenger calls are also ways to utilize your phone to chat with them.

Depending on their age and their parents’ rules, they may not be on social media platforms yet. Even if they are, sometimes young folks don’t want the older generation checking out their pages. Don’t freak out about it, switch to text or calls to interact.

Birthdays and Special Events:

This is one of the areas that’s the hardest for long-distance grandparents. Missing out on birthday gatherings, graduations, school plays, or recitals is heartbreaking. Of course, we can try to attend as many as possible, but technology can be a great blessing here. In our family, our daughters-in-law are great at posting pictures and videos of special events. I enjoy watching and keeping up a bit via those posts. When I chat with our grandchildren later, either in person or via phone, I often bring up that I saw their pictures and events. The smile that comes when they know we’re keeping up is sweet!

As grandchildren grow older and become more independent and perhaps move away from home, the opportunity to keep up with them changes dynamics yet again. Ours are not to this age yet, but I’ll draw upon my own experiences as a young woman. When I was first living on my own and able to decide on travel, I would regularly go visit my grandmothers (both grandfathers had passed during my childhood). I kept up the tradition of seeing them until their deaths. While it became less frequent as I had children and work responsibilities, those are still special memories.

As we build adult relationships with our own grandchildren, we can encourage in-person visits. If we are able, we can travel to them. If not, perhaps we can offer to help with expenses for them to come to us. Either way, if we cultivate an ongoing relationship, the rewards will be great for all generations.

Managing being a long-distance grandparent has much to do with our personal communication choices. We can choose to find ways to communicate and maintain relationships, or we can let them drift.

Choose to explore ways to keep up with your grandchildren even if it means learning a few new tricks of technology. It will be worth it!


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