Making Grandparents Feel Special from Across the Miles

Grandparents play such an important role in our lives! The memories our children make with them are not only important to their childhood, but so precious to their grandparents! These days, many families live long distances from one another, separated by cities, states or for some, even countries! While advances in technology have made staying in touch much easier than it was years ago, how do we intentionally create moments and gestures to make grandparents feel special from across the miles? 

Part of the Daily Grind

When you have children, the day-to-day activities of life can often start to feel like a blur. You may experience the monotony of workday and school day schedules and bedtime routines, forgetting those are the things grandparents love the most. When a grandparent doesn’t have the opportunity to drop by for a weekday dinner or read a bedtime story in person, it really can feel like a loss. They often wish they could be part of these “unremarkable” moments. Finding ways to incorporate them in your child’s week in simple ways, even though they are far away, can mean so much. 

Ideas for during the week:  

  • Invite them on a video call to read a bedtime story.
  • Have your child call to talk about their school day. 
  • Invite them to a family photo sharing app, like FamilyAlbum for daily photos.
  • Watch the same movie or program together at the same time.  

Celebrating Special Occasions

Just because you can’t celebrate every holiday or milestone in person shouldn’t mean you don’t celebrate together at all! While sometimes you or grandparents may have plans of their own with other family and friends living nearby, have a plan for when you’ll get to “see” each other and make it feel special. Find opportunities to have grandparents included in what you are doing at home virtually, or try to celebrate early or late if you’ll be in person with them visiting around the time of the occasion. Most families who live apart will tell you, they tend to get creative when it comes to celebrations together! 

Ideas for special occasions: 

  • Send a surprise card or gift in advance for the occasion.
  • Order a special meal delivery to them for your virtual celebration call.
  • Have your child learn a special holiday song to sing to them.  
  • Send holiday artwork to them or scan copies into a shared folder all year.

Embracing Traditions

One of the most special things about grandparents is the legacy they leave behind in their children and grandchildren when they are not with us one day. Living at a distance can sometimes create a worry that their impact may not be as great as if they lived closer. Finding unique ways to make sure your children are learning about their heritage, faith and culture as a whole can be incredibly beneficial for them and make for very special family memory making. Sharing these special things mean so much to grandparents! 

Ideas for building a legacy:  

  • Bake one of their recipes with your child and send photos after the baking.
  • Have them share/send photos from their own childhood and share stories.
  • Teach them a special prayer or song from their faith. 
  • Create discussions around building a new tradition together.  

Making Memories

Mastering opportunities to create meaningful memories while living far away is an art, but it’s something that a lot of families learn to do, because of how important it is to them. Everyone’s circumstances are different and may or may not allow for frequent in-person trips, and that’s ok; a meaningful phone call or video chat can mean just as much as a weekend visit. Memory making comes in all sorts of shared experiences, so lean into different kinds, and ones that work for you and your family. Think about the things your kids and their grandparents enjoy doing the most together, and how you can create unique ways to do those things when you can visit, and even when you can’t. 

Ideas for making memories:  

  • Book a trip to go visit or prepare arrangements for them to come stay with you.
  • Plan a craft or baking date to do over Facetime together.
  • Make a family game night or photo scavenger hunt. 
  • Ask grandparents to choose something special they’d like to do.

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