Long-distance Family Connections

by Amy L. Sullivan

In our family, grandparents live across oceans and over jagged mountain ranges. The key we have found to cultivating relationships between my children and their grandparents includes consistent and creative communication.

Here are a few ways we’ve found to stay in touch:
Schedule telephone dates. Plan regular phone conversations with grandparents. Ahead of time, discuss with your child one or two questions she can ask or subjects she can talk about. Honor the scheduled time to talk by having a key phrase to signal the end of the conversation.

Send art. Make good use of the masterpieces posted on your refrigerator. Instead of allowing these crayon creations to gather dust, mail them to grandparents.

Celebrate small. We send pictures of the big events, but we also document the small things — lost teeth, tea parties and mismatched outfits. Grandparents love being involved in their grandchild’s daily life.

Go high-tech. Internet-based video-calling services like Skype and FaceTime are easy to use — even for those who may not be tech savvy. Set up a way for grandparents to video chat with your child. We buy Grandma and our daughter the same book to read over FaceTime, then Grandma reads while we help our daughter turn the pages.


This article appeared in the December 2012 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Copyright © 2012 by Amy Sulivan. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.

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