If your parents or your in-laws live out of town, out of state, or in another country, it may be hard to maintain a bond, especially with young children. Are you struggling to think of ways to encourage a relationship between your kids and their grandparents? Here are a few examples of things to do to keep in touch in between visits.
• Put the Phone on Speaker – This makes it a lot easier for the kids to hear grandma and grandpa. Sometimes the conversations may last longer than others, and may require your help by suggesting questions and occasional interpreting.
• Video Chatting – Video chatting is getting easier and easier these days, and is free. Try talking on Skype (free video chatting) as often as we can. Kids love being able to see Grandma and Grandpa, and they will likely enjoy watching the kids.
• Photos – Be sure to take photos of your children with Grandma and Grandpa when they are together, and display in a frame or on the fridge. You could keep the photo near the phone when your children are talking with Grandma or Grandpa. Your children may also enjoy mailing photos of themselves and receiving photos of Grandma and Grandpa in exchange.
• Start a family website or photo share site – A website is a great way to share updates and photos with long distance relatives. It can be time consuming for to keep up, but a great way to share those special moments. Facebook can also be a great tool to share updates and photos with grandparents.
• Birthday Cards – Receiving paper mail is so fun! Ask the grandparents to send your kids birthday and occasional holiday cards, and we try to do the same in return. Even just mailing them a picture that the kids have colored is helpful in building the connection.
• Packages – We all love getting personal mail, kids included. Ask Grandma and Grandpa to occasionally send your child a small package with some goodies. Just simple things such as stickers, books, small toys, clothes with a favorite character, and snacks will be so fun for your child. Consider doing this with holiday items if you aren’t together close to the date.
• Read a book together over the phone – Do your parents enjoy reading books to your kids? With a little coordination to both have a copy of the same books (the library could be very helpful),they could read books together over the phone.
• Fun Ideas to Mail – Below are a few fun ideas of things to mail back and forth.
1. Purchase a blank puzzle (look at the dollar stores), and have either your children or grandparents draw a picture or write a message, put it in the mail, and the other will enjoy discovering the personal image.
2. Either have Grandma and Grandpa mail a package of chocolate kisses or purchase one for them. Give your child a “kiss” from grandma and grandpa each day. My parents always ask me to give my kids a hug for them, and I think they would love this idea. This could also be used as a countdown to their next visit.
3. Have your child mail Grandma and Grandpa a hug. Trace and cut out each hand and then attach together with a string a few feet long.
Happy Grandparents Day!