Family & Social Child Developement
6 Ideas to help kids bond with long distance grandparents
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Kids and grandparents are a combination made in heaven. Grandparents love showering all their love and attention on their children's kids, and these little ones in turn, can learn many a thing from the wisdom of these experienced minds. However, in today's hectic times, distance can come in the way of children spending enough time with their grandparents. It's not always possible to travel to meet the grandparents due to Mom and Dad's hectic schedules, but that doesn't mean that your kids should miss out on grandpa and grandma bonding. Here are ways to get your kids to bond with your parents and in-laws, irrespective of the long distances.
1. Set up Video Calls: Thanks to technology, it's now ever-easy to create a virtual meet-up with grandpa and grandma. Use Facetime, Skype or even WhatsApp video calling to schedule weekly face-times. Read books to each other, get grandma or grandpa to teach one of their passions, or simply talk about the vacation gone by. The idea is to frequently and deeply connect on diverse topics. Tip: For very young kids, make sure to set a pre-scheduled their nap schedules aren't interrupted and use a laptop or desktop rather than a phone or they may get too distracted. Read here for a list of questions for your kids to ask their grandparents.
2. Craft a yearly birthday card: Too much technology and you may find your kids missing out on the personal, warm touch of timeless traditions. Add a dash of personalization to grandchild-grandparent interactions by setting up a yearly ritual- have your kids send a birthday card to them every year. Give the activity a creative twist by letting them create a card the handmade way. Granny or Grandpa are sure to love the personal touch in these handmade cards. What's more, it'll help develop a creative bent of mind in your child. And these are absolutely inexpensive, with paper, stickers, coloured pencils and time as the only requirements!
3. Photo and video sharing: Sharing photos is a great way to open your kids' eyes to your parents' or in-laws' lives, in turn creating a strong bond. Instil a habit of sharing photos with grandparents: gift your kids a simple disposable camera or old mobile phone with an inbuilt camera and see them get shutter-and-share happy! Grandparents can encourage kids to share moments related to their school activities, outings, etc. They should in-turn, do the same to boost enthusiasm. For example, a great idea is to create a photo-book of all such moments and mail it across once a year. Another great avenue is through videos. Video snippets can be used to share knowledge between grandparents and grandkids i.e. to record life-events and interactions into video-snippets. These can serve as beautiful memories, as well as a useful repository of information to pass on family traditions.
4. Go the old-fashioned way, write letters: Kids love to receive mail through post- it is an event for them, making them feel important and valued. Who other than grandpa and grandma to send across long letters filled with love? Encourage your kids to keep the letter-chain going by replying to their posts. It's also a great way to build some excellent writing skills!
5. Schedule Joke-Day or Story-Day: Humour is essential to create strong bonds, after all, what is a family that does not have a hearty laugh once a while? Encourage your kids to tell jokes and entertain their grandparents. You can do this over a video-call or voice-call, the idea is to share in the happiness of a light moment, despite the distance. A similar effect can be achieved by narrating a story to grandpa and grandma, maybe once a month.
6. Play Games: Most grandparents are tech-savvy these days, with many of them playing games on their smartphones. Your kids can team up with or compete against their grandparents over a virtual game of Words with Friends, or chess. During your next video call you can also play offline games like cards or 20 questions.
Grandparents and grandkids naturally share a special bond, but it is important to make the most of this inherent connect and build on it. Regular and meaningful communication is essential so as to bridge the long distances and build a healthy and meaningful relationship. Once your kids bond well with grandparents, there will be no stopping them, and this is sure to open up some great familial bonding opportunities!
Author Byline: Rhucha is Mumbai-based writer and poet, travel entrepreneur, baby and maternity photographer and nature lover. She loves to freeze beautiful moments through her words and her lens, whether it is a wildlife expedition or a cute newborn baby.
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