Many miles separate some grandparents and grandchildren. Having grandparents involved in a child's life is very important. Grandparents can teach children about their family history, spoil them, and love them unconditionally. After all, the more people who love a child the better.
With a little imagination and time, grandparents who don't live close by can still maintain a close relationship with their grandchildren. Here are some ways to keep in touch with those far away grandparents: Send lots of photos, videos, drawings and craftwork so grandparents can keep up with milestones in their grandchildren's lives. With the technology today, it is even easier to email pictures. You can even use of a fax machine or scanner to send just-completed artwork to grandparents. Many grandparents are “hip" with Internet skills nowadays, but if there not send them the old-fashioned way. Ask grandparents to tape-record or videotape themselves reading a bedtime story, singing a lullaby or telling a funny, well-loved family story. Children will love to listen to the story again and again. Plan regular phone conversations, especially if you have very young children. Try and plan them for the same day and time each week so children have something to look forward to. Talk with your child ahead of time to give them some ideas of interesting things to tell their grandparents when the call arrives. Grandparents can send a “goodie" package once a month with letters, inexpensive toys, photographs or anything that lets the grandchildren know they are loved. It gives the kids something to look forward to. Suggest that grandparents work on a scrapbook or memory book, including stories they want to tell their grandchildren, pictures from their own childhoods and favorite family traditions. Let your kids work on a scrapbook for their grandparents, perhaps as a holiday or birthday gift; this can include photos, artwork and even journal entries if the children are old enough. Inform grandparents regularly about the activities, hobbies, likes and dislikes of their grandchildren; this will stimulate communication, as well as help them choose appropriate gifts. At holiday times, ask grandparents to suggest special holiday traditions or provide recipes from their family or ethnic backgrounds. Even if they can't be there to share in the activity they suggest, it's one way to get children talking about their family history. Maybe even grandma could mail some of her home-baked goodies to the kids. Invest in a web camera for your computer so children can see and talk to grandparents often. This is a great thing to have during birthday parties and holidays so grandparents can see first hand what is going on. It's the next best thing to them being there. When grandparents visit make the most of that time. Invite grandparents to visit your child's school, maybe even have lunch with them if possible if the child is in school during the visit. Plan some special outings for the grandparents and grandchildren so they can spend time together.
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