7 Ways to Connect with Grandparents – Long Distance

As a child I was jealous of kids who could visit their grandparents after school.Having grandparents close by seemed like it would have been so much fun! Back then even making a long distance phone call to a grandparent was an expensive proposition. These days grandparents have many more options! Even if they can’t visit in person as often as they would like, grandparents are finding new and inventive ways to maintain a close, cozy relationship with their grandchildren.

Gabrielle Nidus, for example, discovered a resourceful way to keep her son’s and mother’s relationship close.  Her mother gives her son daily piano lessons over Skype. She describes their virtual interaction: “It’s all virtual. It’s pretty amazing. They play piano and then talk. Which my son insists on. She’s all by herself so I think she appreciates the company. I am so grateful to her for learning how to Skype and sharing her love of music with him. It is truly amazing to see. It is a new bond between them.” In a similar way, despite living on opposite sides of the country, my youngest child keeps a close relationship with her grandparents by using FaceTime chats. 

If you’re looking for ways to engage your kids with their grandparents, try some of these ideas:

Read a Book Together

My mother calls my eight year old daughter at 10:30 each morning for another chapter of The Borrowers. This connection not only serves to keep her connected with her grandmother but has all the benefits of reading aloud, such as building her vocabulary and giving her a positive attitude toward reading.

Play Online Games

Just because you can’t get together in person doesn’t mean that game night is out of the question! There are many opportunities to play online games such as Scrabble Go or Spyfall. Additionally, apps such as Together or Houseparty offer fun games for grandparents and children to play together. Just as traditional board games offer educational benefits during play, online games can help develop skills such as vocabulary and math.

Text and Email

What a great way to practice writing while putting a smile on grandma or grandpa’s face! 

Visit the Post Office

Personal correspondence always brings a smile and is a great improvement over the usual stack of bills and junk mail. The Touchnote app allows children to mail postcards from a phone, complete with a picture. As an added bonus, kids get to practice their writing skills and conventions of letter writing.

Try a Video Chat

 Many families are using Zoom and FaceTime to keep grandparents and grandkids connected. My own family has established a weekly Zoom call with my parents, brother, nephews and children all participating on the same call.  

Jen Morrison, a grandmother of three, is keeping up via FaceTime since she can not have her usual visits in person. “We have lots of FaceTime calls with our 1 year old granddaughter in Arkansas. Usually it’s when she’s eating dinner because that’s the only time she’s pretty stationary. And she likes the entertainment while eating. It’s a great way for us to keep up with her.” 

Take an Online Class Together

 Kids may be interested in taking an online class alongside their grandparents. Find something that interests both kids and adults such as a yoga or dance class. Online schools such as outschool.com offer classes that appeal to different age groups and offer a wide variety of courses, such as a Harry Potter cooking class.

Create Online Artwork Together

 Apps such as Zoom offer a screen sharing option that lets kids and grandparents create artwork together. What a fun way to create!

Bio: Jill Morgenstern is a freelance writer, Sunday school teacher, and radio DJ. She has four children and a Master’s Degree in teaching reading.