Living far away from grandparents can be a challenge, especially when kids are little and grandparents want to be involved. You want your kids to know their long-distance grandparents and vice versa, but it’s hard when grandparents are a plane ride or a long road trip away.
For my family, both sets of grandparents live far away. My parents are in California and my husband’s parents are in Georgia. We don’t have the luxury of seeing grandparents every week or having “built-in” babysitters who can help us take the occasional date night. We definitely want our kids (three-year-old & 10-month-old) to know their grandparents, so we make an extra effort to nurture those long-distance grandparent relationships despite the physical distance.
How to Stay Close with Long-Distance Grandparents
1. Regular Facetime/video chats with Grandparents
In the age of smartphones and smart products, having a regular video chat with grandparents who live far away is easier than ever. This helps so much with nurturing relationships with grandparents. With both sets of grandparents states away, we’ve set up standing video chat dates with each of them every weekend. It’s great to have a time penciled in for regular communication with their grandkids. Granted, my toddler isn’t always interested in talking to them and my daughter (10 months) can’t do much in the way of interaction, but I know the grandparents just enjoy being in their presence, even if it is behind a screen.
2. Plan Visits with Grandparents
Before the pandemic turned the world upside down, one of the things we made sure to do was plan visits to see the grandparents. Since they live far away (three-hour plane ride or way too many hours driving), planning in advance was key. That way we would be on each other’s calendars, not overlap with the other set of grandparents, and have something to look forward to.
The same goes for grandparents coming to visit us. When our daughter was born in October 2020, my parents came to stay with us for three weeks. They were able to take care of our three-year-old son while my husband and I were in the hospital. It was nice too because they got to see his daily routines, take him to preschool, and spend quality time with just him.
3. Shared Cloud-based Photo Albums
The “cloud” is a great invention. It makes sharing photos so easy and convenient. My in-laws have a Skylight Frame that my husband and his brother can send pictures to via email or by uploading. Once uploaded, the photos show up on their display and they have new photos to enjoy of their grandkids. I share photos with my parents through a group text message and iCloud albums. For times when things get too busy for a video chat, sharing photos is a great way to keep the grandparents current.
4. Let Kids have a Week/Weekend with Grandparents
This tip is a win/win. Grandparents get to spend time with their grandkids while parents get to spend time with each other. Imagine 24-72 hours of for just the two of you! It would be like your pre-kid days. If grandparents are just a long drive (three hours or less) away, you could drop the kids off before heading out.
5. Go on Vacation with the Grandparents
Plan a big family vacation. Rent a house big enough for your family, the grandparents, and any extended family you want to include. Make plans to hang out. Plan to take a date night out. Have the grandparents do something special with the grandkids. Soak in all the quality time while you have it together to create beautiful memories.
Do you have tips for staying close to long-distance grandparents?