Keeping in Touch with Grandkids

Greetings! Renee here.

For the past two Thursdays we’ve spoken with Peggy Cunningham, one of the contributors to Grandparenting through Obstacles, and allowed her to share her challenges and solutions to keeping in touch with her grandkids. Peggy is a missionary in Bolivia and had to find creative ways to stay in her grandchildren’s lives–not just across the miles but across continents! In Part 1 and Part 2 of our interview we learned that God gave Peggy the great idea of writing Christian children’s stories using the animals present in South America.

Not everyone will be able to share in such a creative way, through writing or the arts, but there are many ideas out there for how to connect with grandkids–whether you’re across town or across the world.

Reading Peggy’s story reminded me a little of my own childhood. When I was in early elementary, my entire family–parents and older brother–lived with my grandparents because my parents couldn’t afford their own home. When we finally did move away, we moved far away–from Ohio to Florida! We sent plenty of cards and letters back and forth, but we all longed to hear the voices of those we moved away from.

Phone calls were getting expensive. This was way before cell phones, and you were charged by how long you talked on the phone. And the farther away you called, the more it cost! Our alternative was to make cassette tape recordings. My brother and I would take turns talking about everything that was going on in our lives, then my parents would add whatever they wanted to say. We’d mail the tape off, and in a couple of weeks, we’d get a return one from my grandparents. To this day I remember how excited I was to see the small but bulky envelope in the mail!

My, how technology has changed the way we communicate today! Think of all the amazing options we now have for keeping in touch–social media, video conferencing like Skype, email, unlimited texts and voice minutes on cell phones. It’s still not quite the same as being there, and it means that grandparents have to work a little harder to compete for their grandkids’ attention by those very same forms of technology, but it can be done–and much easier than when I was a kid.

As Dianne and I continue to share contributor interviews, you’ll see how others met the challenge of their long-distance relationships, and hopefully they will give you some ideas for your own situation.

In the meantime, we’d absolutely love to hear from you. What has worked in your situation for keeping you connected over the miles? What did you think would work but didn’t? What tips or ideas do you have to share with others? Please send us a comment to share your thoughts.

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7 thoughts on “Keeping in Touch with Grandkids

  1. Thanks so much, Tech-Know Grammy! Your ideas are awesome! We’ve come such a long way with technology, and it’s great that it helps us stay connected to those we love. Keep up the great work!

  2. Hi Renee,
    Gail Smith here, AKA Tech-Know Grammy (“Techknow Grammy:Long-distance Grandparenting in the Digital Age” & my mission is to help technically challenged grandparents (like me) how to be a real presence in the daily life of your far-away grandchildren no matter where they live or what their ages. (You can find me on Blogger & Facebook)

    One of my favorite tools is Skype. I’m blessed to have a tech-know saavy family that all are willing to fire up the computer for a little face time with Grammy & Papa. And we do a lot more that just “talk.” Since our grandkids are on the young side (1,2,,4,,5,6,7) we play a lot of games on Skype, with peek-a-boo being a favorite & so easy to do. Just lean to the side ’till you’re off the screen. The little ones love it. We also sing songs we can sign, like Itsy, Bitsy Spider or Jesus Loves Me, anything good for kids.

    I keep several favorite books near the computer to I can grab one & read a Bible story, a simple board book, even bedtime stories. My own children love it when they can just scoop the kids up after a Skype bedtime story & put them to bed.

    I also have several simple puppets & stuffed animals nearby to “talk” to the kids on Skype. They love talking to Mickey Mouse or Curious George. Fun!

    My husband & I also have a Grammy & Papa YouTube channel that has videos of everyday things such as our garden and how it grows, big snowstorms, times when we’ve been together & done special things and slideshows of each child from birth to their last birthday. I’ve also videoed myself reading books they enjoy and can access anytime.

    When we are with our grandchildren I take a lot of pictures. I enjoy using wonderful sites such as “Shutterfly” to make & send books of our fun together to my grandkids, including thanking God for the fun times we have. This visible reminder I hope will one day be a treasure for my grandkids and a reminder of how much I love them.

    This can also be done low tech with your own photos in a scrapbook. Just be sure you make a photocopy of all your pages for you to keep!

    And I know many of you pray each day, as I do, for my family. This daily time of thinking about their lives & bring them before the throne of the One who loves them most of all makes me feel very connected to them & to God. I also set aside a special prayer time for each grandchild early in the morning of her’s or his birthday, asking for God’s blessing & thanking Him for all the unique ways I’ve seen that child grow in the past year.

    Sorry to be so wordy, but as I said it is a subject about which I am passionate.

    BTW, I believe I run across some of you “Chicks-with-pens” in my work for Twila Belk & Cecil Murphey. So glad I found your blog today!

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