Developing a close bond with grandchildren who live far away can be challenging, but the return on your investment is worth the effort!
“Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”
— Genesis 28:14
There are simple steps you can take to build and keep a strong bond when you are separated from the ones you love by distance. Following are a few that have worked well for our family and friends.
1. Write to them, and send envelopes and stamps so they can easily write back.
Of course, sending an email is faster, but kids of all ages love to get mail, and it’s a rare treat these days. Consider sending a packet of pre-addressed envelopes to make return mail easier on Mom and Dad, who may not keep mail supplies on hand. Don’t reserve written correspondence for birthdays or Christmas – your grandchild will love hearing from you any time of year.
2. Send your grandchild a text.
Teens nowadays usually have a phone of their own, and this is an easy way to stay in touch. It’s also fun to send a special text to younger grandchildren on their parent’s phone, with their permission.
3. Send a calendar with special dates filled in.
If you always spend certain holidays with your grandkids, fill out a calendar with special occasions (your birthday, their birthdays), and write in any visits you’ve planned ahead of time with mom & dad. Knowing when they’ll see you next gives kids something to look forward to, and reassures them you miss them, too!
4. Send a few dollars for movie tickets as a special treat.
Invite your grandchild(ren) to call you to talk about the movie afterwards. This will give parent’s ears a break and let your grandkids know what matters to them (the latest cartoon to hit the big screen!), matters to you, too.
5. Set a standing appointment to call or video chat with your grandchildren.
That way, Mom and Dad can make sure they are available and ready to talk, and it’ll help you remember to check in. Put a reminder in your phone or on your calendar, and call the same day and time each week or month. When you make communication with your grandkids a habit, they’ll be more likely to pick up the phone to call you when they’re grown. Won’t that be a blessing? And as for video chat: Facebook, Skype, and many other programs offer free video chat services now!
6. Pray for your grandchildren.
One of the best things you can do for your grandchildren is to pray for them often, and to let them know you are praying. Call or email to ask them how you can pray for them, then just listen. Even tough-to-crack teens will be touched by your prayers – whether or not they show it. When you see them or talk to them, remind them you are praying especially for them. Write down what they say so you have their prayer requests handy when you talk to God, especially if you have lots of grandchildren! The concerns of all those little hearts is a lot to keep track of.
Forming meaningful, lasting relationships with your grandchildren is possible, and thanks to modern technology, you have more ways now than ever to cultivate that special bond – regardless of how far away they may be.
Don’t wait for the grandkids, or your son or daughter, to pick up the phone or send a card or email. Be persistent! You are the Nana, Papa, Grandma or Grandpa your grandchild needs, whether they live down the street, across the state, or halfway around the world.
When you take the time to connect with them on a regular basis, you are planting seeds of faith, hope, love, and trust in the next generation of your family; watching them bloom will be an incredible gift, as the Bible promises in Proverbs 17:6: “Grandchildren are the crown of the elderly.”
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What’s your favorite way to connect with the grandkids? Tell us about it in the comments below (be sure to check the "Also post on Facebook" button!) or tag Kerusso on Facebook and use the hashtag #kerussoblog to share your best ideas.