Helping Babies Bond with Long-Distance Grandparents
Zoe is the first grandchild on both sides of the family but she doesn’t get to see her grandparents as often as we wish she could. My husband’s family resides in Western Massachusetts and my family is in New York. We try to schedule as many visits as we can, but sometimes we can go months without seeing each other. Here are some ways we try to keep the grandparents involved in Zoe’s life.
4 Ways to Bond with Long-Distance Grandparents
1. FaceTime. Once a week my parents and Zoe use FaceTime so that they can see and hear each other. Zoe was confused at first but after a few sessions she has associated my parents’ voices and faces and is excited when she sees them on the iPad. Our weekly FaceTime sessions enable my parents to virtually participate in whatever we are doing at the moment, whether Zoe is eating some finger foods, playing with blocks or walking around the house. My parents have a chance to see her in action and experience all the great ways she is growing each week. We even were able to talk to Zoe’s Great Aunt in Paris once!
2. Daily Sheets. When Zoe is included in the day sheets from her daycare center, I always forward them to both sets of grandparents. They appreciate seeing the photos and knowing what Zoe is doing at school and how the infant activities change from day-to-day. We also send each set of grandparents a piece of artwork every month or two so they can see how her fine motor skills are improving!
3. Maximizing Visits. We make the most out of our time together. When either set of grandparents comes to visit, we make sure to do something special. Whether it is going out to dinner, to the zoo or to the park, it is nice to have Zoe experience those things with her grandparents. When we talk about the adventures we have had in the past, we are always sure to include whether grandma and grandpa were there and what their favorite part of the trip was as well.
4. Book of Faces. You can create a picture book for your child that includes the names and photos of all of their family members. We go through the book and point to the faces and read their names for recognition. When we see that person in person, we try to take out the book to show Zoe it is the same person as in the book!
Kris-Ann also shared some great ideas for keeping in touch with long-distance relatives. How about you? How do you help your kids stay close to grandma and grandpa if they live far away?
Editor’s Note: This post was first published in 2014, but has since been updated.
More on Grandparent-Grandchild Relationships
- E-family news: The Role of Grandparents in a Child’s Life
- Bright Horizons Online Community: Staying in Touch with Long-distance Grandchildren
- Read more posts about grandparents from the Family Room bloggers