Grandparenting from a Distance
staying close to your grandchildren
when you don't live nearby
Often Grandparents live too far away from their grandchildren to make frequent visits easliy...
What then?
How do we establish and maintain the relationship between generations that nurtures and sustains both young and old? It's up to us to make the connection.And for that bond to be a strong one, we must be consistent in our relationship. If our contact is sporadic, our grandchildren won't know what to expect or when.Even at a distance, you want your grandchildren to know that they can Count on You!

First, make sure your grandchildren know what you look like. Send a photo of yourself and ask the parents to hang it in a place where the children will see it every day.Send photos often, take pictures of your home, of your activities, of how the seasons change where you live.
Send completed scrapbook pages of photos, sketches, and descriptive paragraphs of things you are involved in to your grandchildren. Send them a three ring binder that they can add the pages to.

Send a disposable camera to your grandchildren and ask them to take some pictures of themselves for you!
If you have a video camera, tape "A Day in the Life of Grandma and Grandpa" and send it to your grandchildren.Record a "walking tour" of your neighborhood or community. Perhaps you could use it as a preview of places you will take the children when they come to visit. Do a video tour of your home and yard (especially fun at Christmas- be sure to highlight the tree!) Show them the room they'll be sleeping in when they're staying with you.

You can always send the pictures using the good old fashioned US Postal Service (and children love getting mail addressed just to them!)but even if you don't have a digital camera, you can still email pictures fairly easily.

It's possible that your neighborhood film processor can scan your photos for you when it develops them. Or you can take selected photos to a photocopier, such as Kinko's, which will scan them for you (or use an on-site scanner to do it yourself). With a CD or floppy disk in hand, it's easy to attach photos to your e-mail and send them off.

You might also want to check out one of the growing number of sites like Shutterfly or Snapfish that make it easy to share photos. With these sites, you either upload your pictures from your computer onto the site or send them the film. The site develops it, then puts the photos online for you. Password-protected pages mean you have your own online family photo album. Snapfish lets you add your own captions, and Shutterfly offers fun seasonal borders to decorate your photos.
Once online, kids and grandparents can discover the joy of e-mail. Make the notes you send jump to the top of their must-read list by following some of the following suggestions:
Send electronic greeting cards. Kids love getting these cards!Check out the great selection of free email cards at 123 Greetings

Share some laughs
. Many children-and grown-ups-relish a good silly joke. Invest in a joke book and tickle those funny bones by sharing one each day. A kid-friendly search engine, Yahooliganswill put you in touch with kid-suitable jokes of all kinds. Search for "seasonal jokes" and you'll find something funny for any holiday.
Work on a project together.
 E-mail instructions for a simple science project, like how to make gigantic bubbles, how to build a toothpick bridge, etc.- and follow up with snail-mailed project materials. Compare notes via e-mail on results. Find science projects online at
Zoom.
The Idea Box  has an array of recipes, games and crafts that kids are sure to love.
Share favorite Web sites.
 Ask your grandchildren what sites they like best to get an idea of their interests, then direct them to your favorite sites as well. For the most impact, be specific and direct children to a particular work of art at your most-loved museum site, or to a particular stamp you're seeking at your favorite stamp-collecting site. Grandparents can subscribe to an e-mail newsletter that includes suggestions for kid-friendly sites at Surfing the Net with Kids Email your grandchildren a short message each week or every evening before you go to bed. Tell them what you did that day.

Set up an instant message program so that you can chat with your granchildren online.Be sure to check with their parents first about internet safety and setting up safe guidelines for children using "chat"

Play an on-going game, like chess, online with the older children

For some addtional ideas on staying in touch,especially for younger children or those without email access-
Check out the next page!
Often Grandparents live too far away from their grandchildren to make frequent visits easliy...

What then?

How do we establish and maintain the relationship between generations that nurtures and sustains both young and old? It's up to us to make the connection.And for that bond to be a strong one, we must be consistent in our relationship. If our contact is sporadic, our grandchildren won't know what to expect or when.Even at a distance, you want your grandchildren to know that they can Count on You!