Thank you to Lemon Drop Gifts for sponsoring this conversation.
"I want to be like Nana when I grow up!" my 3-year-old recently declared, completely out of the blue.
When pressed, he explained that it's because Nana sings funny songs and slips him pieces of candy every now and then. I told him that with her as his role model, he's going to make a very beloved grandpa someday!
My son and his Nana obviously have a close relationship, but that's harder and harder to come by these days. Kids are more likely to be separated from their grandparents by hundreds of miles and hours of travel, making it difficult to stay connected.
Yet those connections are more important than ever—for the wellbeing of both your children and their grandparents. Here are 7 meaningful ways to foster the relationship between the two generations, no matter how much distance lies between them.
7 Ways to Connect with Grandparents Near and Far
1. Start a tradition.
Maybe every Christmas the kids decorate cookies with Grandma when she visits. Or perhaps every summer vacation they collect seashells to give to her. Or maybe on her birthday each year the kids make a list of reasons why they love her.
Whatever it is, treating the activity as a regular tradition makes it something kids and grandparents alike can anticipate and look forward to—making it all the more fun for everyone!
2. Prioritize one-on-one conversations.
"Gather 'round, kids! It's time to call Grandpa!" you shout as everyone crowds around the speaker phone or tablet screen to say hello.
Group calls have their place, of course, but for grandparents and grandchildren to truly connect, one-on-one conversations are a must. So do your best to carve out time for each of your children to talk to Grandma and Grandpa separately from their siblings.
3. Deliver joy through the mail.
Technology has certainly changed the way we communicate and connect, and often for the better. But there is still something so special about receiving a package from a loved one in the mail.
The excitement when we see the package waiting for us.
The anticipation as we open it.
The joy and gratitude we feel when we think about the care that went into the entire process.
I love the idea of families sending a package of joy to Grandma—whose face will inevitably light up when she sees it!—but it can be tough to pull off when you have mountains of laundry and dinners to cook and soccer practice twice a week.
That's where Lemon Drop Gifts comes in. Lemon Drop Gifts is a personalized gift subscription box just for her, and it makes it super simple for you and your kids to send Grandma a surprise she'll adore.
In a nutshell, they handpick 3-5 special sweets and treats that are shipped in a beautiful box along with a personalized photo and message you upload to their site. The result is simply lovely and heartwarming.
Just imagine Grandma receiving a gorgeous package on her porch and opening it up to find an assortment of specialty items along with a personalized postcard from her beloved grandchildren—of course there will be tears in her eyes!
(Curious about the specialty items? See some examples here
—they're all fantastic!)
Lemon Drop Gifts offers 1-month, 3-month, or 6-month plans (each month will feature different gifts and can be sent to different recipients), so you can plan ahead for special occasions. These personalized gift boxes make such thoughtful and unique gifts for birthdays, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, or even "Just Because I'm Thinking Of You Day."
Boxes start as low as $35/month and shipping is included in the price. Place your order by February 1st using the promo code "PAT15" for 15% off your first box—just in time for Valentine's Day!
4. Plan appropriate activities for in-person visits.
Does Grandma feel a little worn out these days? A full-day trip to the zoo probably isn't a good idea.
Is Grandpa's short-term memory a little foggy sometimes? Hide-and-seek is out.
If your kids don't see their grandparents often, it can be tempting to cram as much "fun" as possible into their in-person visits. But doing so might leave everyone exhausted, and certain activities just might not work these days.
Instead, choose one or two activities that are developmentally appropriate for your child and also comfortable for their grandparents, and leave the rest of the time unstructured.
5. Make it easier to connect virtually.
Sure, some seniors are whizzes with their laptops or tablets, but many are not. So don't expect your kids' grandparents to become tech-savvy overnight—especially not without some help from you.
The key to connecting virtually is to simplify the process.
For example, if you want to use Skype, you could create Grandma's account for her, create a shortcut on her computer desktop, and write out instructions for how to answer the call.
If you want Grandpa to see your pictures on Facebook, show him slowly—and probably more than once!—how to log in and view your recent posts.
Technology can be intimidating, so break it down into bite-sized steps.
6. Do a shared activity—wherever you are!
If there's a vast distance between your children and their grandparents, a fun idea is to have them do the same activity on their own and then talk about it together.
For example, plan a long-distance movie night where both the kids and their grandparents watch the same family-friendly flick separately—and then talk about it together via phone the next morning.
Or plan a virtual book club where everyone reads the same page-turner over the course of the week and then chats about it together on Friday night.
Sharing the activity can be a great bonding experience, even if part of it occurs on completely different parts of the country.
7. Keep photos in everyday sight.
This one is especially important if your kids only see their grandparents a few times a year.
Because children are such visual creatures, it can be tough for them to feel connected if they lack a concrete image of Grandma and Grandpa. So give them that image: Put photos of grandparents in plain sight, wherever they'll be seen regularly. Point to the photos and talk about them often. Help your kids keep a picture of their grandparents in their little minds.
And when everyone's together, don't forget to snap some photos too! Those captured memories will be the perfect addition to your next Lemon Drop Box!
How do your kids stay connected with their grandparents? Is there a loved one in your life who would enjoy a personalized Lemon Drop Gift Box?
Don't forget to use promo code PAT15 for 15% off your first personalized gift box for her!
27 responses to “7 Meaningful Ways to Connect with Faraway Grandparents”
I don’t have grandkids yet but I am hoping that is in my future. My daughter is moving to Chicago, and I have had this conversation in my mind more than once. My grandparents lived in my backyard practically and I saw them daily.Theseare wonderful ideas!
These are all great ideas. I am loving the lemon drop idea the best. So checking into that one.
My parents are on the other side of the country so we know what this is like! Great tips 🙂 the box looks awesome!
This means a lot to me. I have four in-laws and they’re fairly close.
My parents are the faraway ones and I know they feel left out.
It’s nice to give them their own traditions and let them FaceTime with the kids.
The gift box is such a nice idea. Skype is perfect for seeing each other face to face, yet far away. Such amazing technology now.
I am so glad I only live 5 minutes from my grandchildren. I would not like the fact I couldn’t see them often. At least with technology this is easier now then when I was young. I would only see one of my grandmother’s once a year when we went to visit.
Joy through the mail is my favorite! I love this list of ideas for keeping in touch. Grandparents are extra special people and that relationship definitely needs special attention. The Lemon Drop Gift Box looks really perfect!
This is a new territory for. I like the idea of sending my Mom a surprise sentimental gift from the kids!
I don’t have grandchildren yet but chances are good I’ll be a long distance one when the time comes.
We don’t get to see the grandparents often because of distance. These are some great ideas for staying connected.
You can’t beat snail mail! I love that you used it as a suggestion since it teaches our kids there is more to communication than a cell phone or computer 🙂
What a great list. Nothing beats the one on one phone conversations, but that subscription box I know my mom would love!
These are such great ways to connect with grandparents and even relatives who live faraway! My kids are lucky enough to have grandparents that are local so we connect by visiting them.
Those are all awesome ideas. Both set of grandparents live hours away, so I will be using a lot of these!
I lived 1200 miles away from my granddaughter and hated it. Now I live very close and it’s a dream come true. 🙂
Calling my grandparents ‘just because’ really brightens up their day. I can hear it in their voices how happy they are to hear from me. Also visits make for great memories too.
We used to Skype a lot and found that helped. When Grandma and Grandpa are around we give them lots of one on one time, which works out as mommy can work and daddy can do stuff around the house!
I would love it if you came to link up at our party:
It’s a link party and pin-up party, two parties in one! All posts will get pinned to our group pinterest board.
We are fortunate enough to have grandparents close but these are great ideas. My kids love to make them handmade gifts
These are great tips and it takes pro-active parents to make it happen I don’t see a lot of this with far away grandparents. Funny thing, most grandparents of very small children are in their 50’s and 60’s so a little more active and computer savvy than given credit for. I feel for the kids today who don’t have grandparents. I had all of mine plus great grandparents and it was rich to have those relationships and I had several great aunts I was very close to.
Such great ideas! Having a great relationship with grandparents is so important. I love that gift box idea!
What great ideas to connect with grandparents. It is such a special bond that grandparents and grandchildren can have.
My parents live in Brazil, you have no idea how much I love your post!
Grandparents are such a wonderful blessing. I love these ideas for keeping in contact. It’s amazing how easy it is to stay in contact with facetime and skype. Love it!
This is so sweet. We are military so we don’t live near any of our children’s grands. My son is old enough now that he has started writing letters from time to time. I know it makes her day. FaceTime is Awesome, but a hand written letter means he took time out of his day for her and that makes it even more special.
These are wonderful! I am blessed that my children have a good relationship with their grandparents. They have mostly lived close but we traveled a lot this past year. We worked to have them call or FaceTime to stay in touch. I like the LemonDrop gifts idea!
Mail and Facebook are my favourite!
I love your post. We ( me and the kids) from the start have been engaging with my parents who live abroad but it is a long journey for us, partially that they are (to some point ) disengaged them self.
This is mainly due to two of my sisters who live also abroad but don’t make the effort we do therefore my parents think what’s the point.
We raise our children bilingual (my husband is english I am polish) however kids dominant language is not the one grandparents speak. I speak to my children in the native language, call my parents and engage the kids. I do try to travel and visit them twice a year…unfortunately they don’t came and visit us although we offered many times ( they excuse usually are hospital appointments, other arrangements etc- we always offer to pay for the tickets) but no luck. I have a good long term relationship with my parents but finding difficult to get them really on board with the kids- again I think this is historic issue with my sisters.
My parents many times commented that my kids won’t speak the language therefore it almost impossible to have long term relationship with them. But to help my kids to speak in the native language I need their engagement. (I am currently the only around my kids speaking the native language we read, listen to songs, speak only native to each other and english to Daddy, we also call via Skype their auntie.
The kids are only little 2.5 years and 5 months.
I am not giving up as it is so important for me for the children to know all the grandparents but what else I can do? Any suggestions are welcome.
P.s sorry for the long post