Even spending a week at Grandma’s house can help strengthen relationships in ways that are difficult to achieve during a flyby visit and can make up for some distance.
Use the very technology that can immerse you.
By the 5th or 6th grade, many children have mobile phones and younger children may send messages via tablets and computers. They no longer need parents as facilitators or mediators.
So, at least once a week, Betsy Buchalter Adler and her husband send a text message to their 14-year-old grandson, who lives for hours from his home in Pacific Grove, California. “On the phone, he needs to answer,” she explained. “With the text, it doesn’t get in the way.” They keep their jokes light and joking, sometimes including memes and photos. He answers when he wants.
“We want him to know that we have his back, and text messages are the most unobtrusive way to show him,” Adler said.
Other grandparents mentioned using WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, and Skype to stay in touch.
One caveat: parents set rules for their children’s devices and we need to respect them. “We want our parents to be happy with the role their grandparents play and never be guessed again,” Dr. Dunifon advised.
Celebrate important events and interests for them.
If your grandchildren can’t come to you, that doesn’t mean you can’t spend time with them. Lynch participates in games, recitals, concerts, whatever the grandchildren are involved with. They applaud, show pride, and take their children to food and treatment.
Entering the world of children works especially well with common interests. Reese confessed that his attempt to learn Minecraft, a favorite video game for his 11-year-old grandson in St. Petersburg, Florida, was completely unsuccessful. But he loves to take pictures and sends her the pictures he is particularly proud of. Both follow their favorite photographers on Instagram. A normal walk becomes a photo excursion when they are together. The framed photo she sent as a Christmas present is now displayed in his room.
How to be near grandchildren on a busy schedule
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