Thursday, October 6, 2011

When Grandkids Live Far Away

Facetime on your iPhone is one
way to stay in touch!
Photo from www.morguefile.com

When your grandchildren live far away from you, how can you stay in touch?  How can you feel like you are still a part of their lives?  How can you help your grandkids know how much you care about them?

These are some of the questions that my husband and I have faced.  We have six grandchildren ranging from age 1 to age 21, with another one on the way.  They are quite spread out, living in Northern California, Southern California, New York and Delaware.  Although we make an effort to travel and see them all at least once a year, we realize that is not nearly enough to be part of their lives.  Although it is not the same as having your grandkids live next door, we discovered there are some things we could do to stay in touch and feel close to our grandkids.

The first thing we do is send them all greeting cards and a few dollars on all those little holidays that kids enjoy so much.  We mail out cards for Halloween, Valentine's Day, and Easter.  If they lived nearby, we know we would give them treats on those occasions.  Since they don't live close, we still enjoy recognizing those days as special for the kids and sending them a little money.  It is fun for them and us.

The next thing we do is put the internet to work.  My husband and I are both on Facebook.  Although my husband and I have very few Facebook friends who are not relatives, we have discovered that this site is a great way to stay in touch with our family and close friends.  Our daughters are all wonderful about updating their Facebook pictures and videos often, so we get to see our grandkids getting awards at school, competing in sports, and wearing their Halloween costumes.  Some of our grandkids also have their own Facebook pictures and will post their own comments and pictures to share with us.  We cherish every little thought and comment they share!

Another way we use the internet is by using Skype.  One Christmas morning, one of our daughters set her laptop on the coffee table in the living room and we contacted her using Skype.  We fixed our breakfast and relaxed in front of our computer.  Then we spent a couple of hours watching our grandkids open their presents, and they watched us open ours.  It wasn't quite as good as getting a warm hug, but it was much better than a phone call.  It was hilarious watching them laugh as they opened their gifts and held them up to the computer for us to see!  We have also Skyped on Halloween to see their costumes, and on other special occasions.  We've found that young kids, in particular, will stay on the phone much longer when they can see us and show us things.  Technology has made it so much easier for our family to stay in touch!

In addition to Skype on our computers, we also have it on our Android phones.  We love being able to see our kids and grandkids whenever we chat.  Having Skype on our phones is like having our grandkids in our purse or pocket!

Recently, one of our daughters, and her two kids, moved just seven  miles from our home.  We are delighted to have some of our grandkids living close by, once again.  However, we still have four other grandkids who live far away and the new baby will also be living on the other side of the country.  One thing we have learned is that, while it is not always possible to have our grandkids nearby, that is no excuse for losing touch with them.  We hope we are always part of their lives, whether they live nearby or not.

If you haven't yet used some of these services, you may want to give them a try.  They are a cheap and easy way to keep your grandkids close.

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