Ask any kid why they adore their grandparents, and you’ll probably hear everything from, “Grandma always says yes to candy!” to “Grandpa gives THE BEST hugs!” Without a doubt, the connection children share with their grandparents is one of the most special and most important in their lives—which is why it can be all the more distressing when you don’t live close by. In fact, 80 percent of grandparents live at least 50 miles away from their grandkids, and nearly half live more than 200 miles away, according to AARP. The happy news? There’s a lot you can do to help your parents and children forge a deep bond despite the miles between them.
Create a "My Family" photo book
When kids are very little, they can sometimes forget who’s who in between visits. To help make their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins an everyday part of their lives, mount snapshots of each relative on scrapbook paper or card stock and write down everyone’s name. Punch holes on one side and bind the pages together. Add “My Family” to the rotation at bedtime, and share memories of the times your child spent with each person.
Be pen pals
Kids love, love, love to get their own mail, so encourage your child to swap letters, drawings, and postcards with Nana and PopPop every few weeks. Another variation: Give your child a disposable camera to document her day or week, then send it to her grandparents. Have them do the same and send their camera to you. Once the photos (real ones!) are developed, they’ll have a blast describing and explaining each one over the phone.
Take advantage of technology
One of the hardest things about living far apart is missing the daily routines. But with apps like Panasonic’s HomeTeam™, your kids and the grandparents can see, talk, and play together whenever they want: Choose from hundreds of books to read together and dozens of games to play together on your tablets and PCs while video chatting at the same time. Each subscription includes multiple users, so you can invite other long-distance friends and family to log on, too. You can try it for free by downloading the app from iTunes and the Google Play store.
Plan a getaway
Of course visiting each other’s homes is wonderful, but experiencing a new place together creates memories that last and last. And that’s true whether you splurge on big trip or decide to meet in the middle at that sweet town on the lake. Trust us, they’ll never forget watching Grandma steal the karaoke show or Grandpa cannonballing it off the high board!
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