Thank you to Lemon Drop Gifts for sponsoring this conversation.
“I want to be like Nana when I grow up!” my 3-year-old recently declared, completely out of the blue.
When pressed, he explained that it’s because Nana sings funny songs and slips him pieces of candy every now and then. I told him that with her as his role model, he’s going to make a very beloved grandpa someday!
My son and his Nana obviously have a close relationship, but that’s harder and harder to come by these days. Kids are more likely to be separated from their grandparents by hundreds of miles and hours of travel, making it difficult to stay connected.
Yet those connections are more important than ever—for the wellbeing of both your children and their grandparents. Here are 7 meaningful ways to foster the relationship between the two generations, no matter how much distance lies between them.
7 Ways to Connect with Grandparents Near and Far
1. Start a tradition.
Maybe every Christmas the kids decorate cookies with Grandma when she visits. Or perhaps every summer vacation they collect seashells to give to her. Or maybe on her birthday each year the kids make a list of reasons why they love her.
Whatever it is, treating the activity as a regular tradition makes it something kids and grandparents alike can anticipate and look forward to—making it all the more fun for everyone!
2. Prioritize one-on-one conversations.
“Gather ’round, kids! It’s time to call Grandpa!” you shout as everyone crowds around the speaker phone or tablet screen to say hello.
Group calls have their place, of course, but for grandparents and grandchildren to truly connect, one-on-one conversations are a must. So do your best to carve out time for each of your children to talk to Grandma and Grandpa separately from their siblings.
3. Deliver joy through the mail.
Technology has certainly changed the way we communicate and connect, and often for the better. But there is still something so special about receiving a package from a loved one in the mail.
The excitement when we see the package waiting for us.
The anticipation as we open it.
The joy and gratitude we feel when we think about the care that went into the entire process.
I love the idea of families sending a package of joy to Grandma—whose face will inevitably light up when she sees it!—but it can be tough to pull off when you have mountains of laundry and dinners to cook and soccer practice twice a week.
That’s where Lemon Drop Gifts comes in. Lemon Drop Gifts is a personalized gift subscription box just for her, and it makes it super simple for you and your kids to send Grandma a surprise she’ll adore.
In a nutshell, they handpick 3-5 special sweets and treats that are shipped in a beautiful box along with a personalized photo and message you upload to their site. The result is simply lovely and heartwarming.
Just imagine Grandma receiving a gorgeous package on her porch and opening it up to find an assortment of specialty items along with a personalized postcard from her beloved grandchildren—of course there will be tears in her eyes!
(Curious about the specialty items? See some examples here—they’re all fantastic!)
Lemon Drop Gifts offers 1-month, 3-month, or 6-month plans (each month will feature different gifts and can be sent to different recipients), so you can plan ahead for special occasions. These personalized gift boxes make such thoughtful and unique gifts for birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, or even “Just Because I’m Thinking Of You Day.”
Boxes start as low as $35/month and shipping is included in the price. Place your order by February 1st using the promo code “PAT15” for 15% off your first box—just in time for Valentine’s Day!
4. Plan appropriate activities for in-person visits.
Does Grandma feel a little worn out these days? A full-day trip to the zoo probably isn’t a good idea.
Is Grandpa’s short-term memory a little foggy sometimes? Hide-and-seek is out.
If your kids don’t see their grandparents often, it can be tempting to cram as much “fun” as possible into their in-person visits. But doing so might leave everyone exhausted, and certain activities just might not work these days.
Instead, choose one or two activities that are developmentally appropriate for your child and also comfortable for their grandparents, and leave the rest of the time unstructured.
5. Make it easier to connect virtually.
Sure, some seniors are whizzes with their laptops or tablets, but many are not. So don’t expect your kids’ grandparents to become tech-savvy overnight—especially not without some help from you.
The key to connecting virtually is to simplify the process.
For example, if you want to use Skype, you could create Grandma’s account for her, create a shortcut on her computer desktop, and write out instructions for how to answer the call.
If you want Grandpa to see your pictures on Facebook, show him slowly—and probably more than once!—how to log in and view your recent posts.
Technology can be intimidating, so break it down into bite-sized steps.
6. Do a shared activity—wherever you are!
If there’s a vast distance between your children and their grandparents, a fun idea is to have them do the same activity on their own and then talk about it together.
For example, plan a long-distance movie night where both the kids and their grandparents watch the same family-friendly flick separately—and then talk about it together via phone the next morning.
Or plan a virtual book club where everyone reads the same page-turner over the course of the week and then chats about it together on Friday night.
Sharing the activity can be a great bonding experience, even if part of it occurs on completely different parts of the country.
7. Keep photos in everyday sight.
This one is especially important if your kids only see their grandparents a few times a year.
Because children are such visual creatures, it can be tough for them to feel connected if they lack a concrete image of Grandma and Grandpa. So give them that image: Put photos of grandparents in plain sight, wherever they’ll be seen regularly. Point to the photos and talk about them often. Help your kids keep a picture of their grandparents in their little minds.
And when everyone’s together, don’t forget to snap some photos too! Those captured memories will be the perfect addition to your next Lemon Drop Box!