When a new member is brought to the family miles away, it may seem hard to form a connection with them if you are not physically present. Most families do not have the privilege of living in the same household, same city or even the same state. This may cause difficulties for communication – but it does not make it impossible. With new technology, the world has become smaller and communication has become much easier for long-distance grandparents to interact on a daily basis.
Communication Is the Key (and Easy With Phone Apps!)
When a new baby first enters the family, it is important to communicate with them frequently and be present in their life in order to form an initial bond during their crucial early developmental stage. With distance, it may seem near impossible to form these bonds with your new grandchild. But modern apps can make this possible. A daily face-to-face call done through FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangouts or similar apps can transform your relationship with your grandchild. Additionally, making sure to keep up-to-date with what the child is interested in can help form a close relationship. Through apps like FaceTime, you can join them in playing their favorite game, help read them a book at night, assist them with their homework, or even virtually attend their sports game!
Attend a Sports Game
Although this may seem like a task that is only available to do in-person, attending their sports game virtually through a face-to-face call app can make a world of difference to a child who loves sports. After the game, make sure to congratulate them, motivate them, and talk about what you saw to help further your connection.
Write Them a Letter
As a child, receiving a letter in the mail is a huge event. Sending them a letter weekly is a great and easy idea to form a connection with them and remain memorable in their developmental stages. Not only will this help form a connection but it can help improve their reading skills. Try to make the letters creative by adding fun pictures, funny quotes, or maybe a weekly joke that you can easily find with one quick google search!
Read A Bedtime Story
An easy way to get your daily time in with your grandchild is to read them a bedtime story. This is a good way to make sure you are communicating with them daily even on their busiest days when they won’t be able to talk. To accomplish this, purchase children’s books and show them the pictures on a face call app – or just find children’s stories online and share them with your grandchild!
Have Dinner “Together”
This is another easy method to make sure you are getting your daily communication with your grandchild. No matter where they are, chances are they will be available for a call while they are eating dinner. While they are eating, you can also eat your dinner to give the effect of eating together.
There are many games that can be done over the phone or through a face call that will have your grandchild calling you over and over again. Simple games can entertain a child so games such as “Do You Have” can be a good idea. This game is a twist on the popular game “I Spy”. To play you just guess items they might have in their house and once you get it right, it’s their turn! Try to add a fun twist by adding playful guesses such as “Do you have a pink mermaid in your living room?” or other imaginative ideas.
Use Marco Polo
This app is similar to the Snapchat app, or can also be compared to a virtual walkie talkie. Send short videos of yourself that will be sent to and received by your grandchild. This can be a short message, a video of you on your daily routine, or just a quick reminder about how much they mean to you.
Help With Homework
Although this may not be the most fun approach to developing a connection with your grandchild, it can help them immensely and they will appreciate you greatly for it. Through a face call app or phone call, you can help with simple topics such as learning English, math, or even art!
If your grandchild isn’t old enough to read yet, this is a great alternative to sending letters and can even be done online or through the phone. Take selfies, silly pictures of yourself, or photos of activities you have done for the day and send it their way. You can even make a collage of photos that can tell a story that can spark their interest even more.
Color in a Coloring Book Together
Purchase two coloring books and send one to your grandchild and keep one for yourself. Now when you contact them through a face call you can both color in the book together and talk about your days. Additionally, when the coloring book is finished, you can send it to each other and keep them to remember one another.
Do a Puzzle Together
This is a tactic similar to the coloring book idea where you both can work on two different puzzles together. Doing an activity together can allow longer talks and excitement to talk to each other since they will know that they get to do an activity. You can also face call them and help with their missing puzzle pieces if you do not wish to purchase a puzzle for yourself.
Plant Something Together
Gardening is a therapeutic activity and has many benefits for children as well as older adults, making this activity the perfect one to create a bond over. You can both plant two separate plants and watch as they both grow while taking care of it. Not only will this create an activity to share, but it will also teach your grandchild how to care for objects.
Nothing can top a good old fashion phone call! Of course, it is hard to tell stories every day and if you want to keep communicating on a daily basis you may want to include other interests and activities on this list. However, simply calling them and telling them a story and asking about their day is priceless and something they will be sure to appreciate.
Create Dances Together
Children are super active when they are younger and want to release their energy in any way they can. Through a face call, help them choreograph a dance or play music, watch them dance, and pretend you’re the judge! Whenever they feel like busting a move they will be sure to call to show you – which makes this an excellent activity.
Send a Gift
Who loves gifts more than children? Of course, this can’t be an everyday occurrence – but sending a random gift, no matter how small, will put a big smile on their face and will definitely result in a call in return. Plus, whenever they use their gift, they will be thinking about you!
Being a grandparent and being long-distance can be tough. The activities on this list are ways to promote a strong relationship with your grandchildren no matter how far away. However, nothing beats some in-person quality time – and surprising them with a quick visit yearly, at least, will make your bond even stronger.