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.