Long-Distance Grandparenting

By Rita Brhel, managing editor and attachment parenting resource leader (API)

For many people, grandparenting comes as easy as the love they felt for their own children.

But not all grandparents live close enough to visit their grandchildren frequently, often thought of as a key to developing a strong emotional bond. Furthermore, some grandchildren, or their parents, have very full schedules that can make visits by even nearby grandparents challenging. Here are some tips adapted for grandparents wanting to stay in touch with their grandchildren:

  • Visit regularly, if not often – Visiting your grandchildren doesn’t have to be frequent, as long as it’s meaningful. Have a good time with your grandchildren when you visit them or when they come for visits. Help them to look forward to the next visit by planning a loose schedule with their parents.
  • Stay in touch between visits – Use the phone, e-mail, and letters through the postal mail to provide a personal way to stay in touch with grandchildren between visits. Send photos and cards.
  • Show your grandchildren how much you miss them – Put photos of your grandchildren in frames on the shelf or on the fridge. Make a special photo album of special times spent with your grandchildren, and allow your grandchildren to flip through it when they visit.
  • Share a hobby, teach a skill – When your grandchildren visit, engage them in helping your with chores or get them started with one of your hobbies. Help them make a craft they can take home. When you call them next or send a letter, you can ask them about what they learned or thank them for their help around the house.
  • Chart a family tree – Tell your grandchildren stories about their relatives, especially their parents. Tell them about their ancestors and their heritage. Help them to create a family tree or scrapbook.

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