With the DFW area becoming a mecca for out-of-state-transplants, it’s common for families to live far away from grandparents. Long-distance grandparents can still keep in touch with their grandchildren, it just takes some forethought.
My family is familiar with dealing with long-distance relationships and has worked to foster that connection between the far-away grandparents. Here are some ways to celebrate across the miles.
FaceTime, Google Meet, Zoom
Fort Worth Moms has written about long-distance grandparents before (“When Grandparents Live Far Away” and “When Grandparents Live Far Away — Part 2.”) My experience is similar in that our household uses technology regularly to keep in touch with my parents who live five hours away.
My youngest child is two years old and runs non-stop, so it can be quite challenging to keep a conversation going with her. Admittedly, Grandma and Pa have to watch her on the run most days that they call.
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However, we have found that mealtime provides a great opportunity to keep her captivated and interacting. She even cheers her Pa over FaceTime while they “share” a cup of something! So giving the grandparents a video call is a great option to connect.
Marco Polo App
I’ve also recently discovered Marco Polo. It’s a free app with a premium subscription available. It works across WiFi all over the world, so you can connect to friends and family no matter what type of phone they use or if they live outside of the U.S. You record video messages so the grands can watch the video you sent later and reply at their earliest convenience. It’s a fun way to send silly videos back and forth and make memories that your little ones and grands can laugh at over and over again.
My oldest child is nine this summer, and we started writing letters to both sets of grandparents and fostering a pen-pal relationship. It was a great way to teach her how to write a letter and address an envelope, and she was super excited to receive mail addressed to her in return.
For Christmas one year, we gave both sets of grandparents a shadowbox type of frame and we include drawings and finished pages from coloring books as well as the letters. The grands love them and often request original artwork that they can display in their frames. Sending a handmade card in the mail is always a great idea.
One set of grandparents lives in Rockwall, Texas, which is more than one-hour drive for us. They are not always able to come visit us, so I make it a priority to schedule a trip to see them as often as I can.
I strive for a once-a-month visit, but sometimes life gets in the way. Extracurricular activities take up weekends, and if you work outside of the home, you may be playing catch-up on the weekends to run errands and clean the house.
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You know what, though? Making memories is more important than a spotless house, for the kiddos and the grandparents who look forward to seeing those smiling faces. So, if you can plan ahead, order your groceries for pick-up on the way home from an in-person visit. Later — if you’re brave enough — maybe get the kiddos involved in the cleaning.
No matter how you choose to celebrate the long-distance grandparents in your children’s lives, you’ll be making fun memories for both kiddos and grands.