There are many reasons why we might live further away from our parents than we used to. We might have moved for work or love, and they may have made the move to an assisted living community away from home. But this distance doesn’t mean that the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is any less important. Research shows that having contact with grandchildren can help older adults to stay fit and alert, and enjoy a better quality of life, but also that a close family unit can help children feel safe and secure and enjoy their childhood. The good news is, you can build great relationships, no matter where you all live. Here are some tips to help you.
Make Sure They are Online and Comfortable
The internet offers excellent ways to stay in touch. But don’t just assume that your loved one feels comfortable using it. Make sure they’ve got everything they need, but also that they can make video calls, send messages, and stay safe online.
Have a Regular Check-In
Try to find a time when you, your children, and your loved ones can sit down over a video call and have a good catch-up, instead of a rushed conversation. Schedule this once a week so that you don’t forget, and you never go too long without speaking.
Send a Daily Text
A daily text isn’t the same as a longer chat, but it is a way to check in and say hi. Instead of sending the same “How are you?” text every day, try to add variety and open conversation with questions about their plans or days, or even by asking what they are reading or watching.
Make the Most of Your Time Together
Many grandparents live in communities such as Belmont Village in West Lake Hills, Austin, where their needs can be met more efficiently. If your parents are living in an assisted living community, visits with the kids can be great fun. There will be lots to see, and your parents will love showing off the grandkids. Just make sure you make a plan before visiting so that you can stay for as long as possible and can make the most of your time together.
Take Trips Together
Sometimes, making a plan to meet in the middle is easier than visiting each other at home. Booking a vacation that’s somewhere you can all get to can help you to make some great memories together, without your loved one feeling like a burden.
Encourage Private Conversations
Even when your children are young, they must have their own relationship with their grandparents, which will grow as they get older. Encourage them to send cards and crafts, but also to have private chats. When they are older and have their own electronics, encourage communication, and suggest they play online games together.
Distance is easier to overcome than ever with the rising use of technology, and there’s absolutely no reason you can’t all enjoy an excellent relationship even from the other side of the world. Just make sure you get into good habits and stick to them.
Meg is an author at Cinnamon Hollow. She writes on a variety of topics sharing tips and ideas for daily life.