I'm the oldest child in the family and thus was the first to make my parents grandparents. Suddenly, the role of grandparent took on a whole new meaning for me. I was used to thinking of grandparents as white-haired, wrinkly, happy people who send you cards on your birthday and have cookies ready every time you visit. Suddenly, however, I looked at my mom as the grandmother of my son and realized there is so much more to being a grandparent. She is anxious about my son's welfare, wants to visit as often as possible (she lives a four hour drive away) and loves seeing pictures. And now I know, grandparents are more than static, elderly, constantly happy figures.
There are lots of ways to show grandparents they are loved. These strategies work whether you're interacting with your own grandparents or the grandparents of your children. And with all our modern technologies, connecting with grandparents is easier than ever before.
Read more here about dealing with your in-laws.
Keep them updated
Phones aren't a recent modern marvel, but with the increasingly high popularity of texting, talking on the phone is becoming a neglected form of communication. Calling grandparents with updates on your life helps keep them feeling involved. Let them know when important things happen to you: a job change, moving, pregnancy or your baby's first step. They'll feel appreciated and loved knowing you care about sharing these life events with them.
Invite them to important events
Sometimes there might be events or activities grandparents would be interested in attending. Depending on the distance between you and the grandparents, consider inviting them to graduations, award ceremonies, and concerts you or your family members participate in. Grandparents also like to feel needed, so if you need help moving or want help with the kids, don't hesitate to invite them to help in whatever way they can.
Acknowledge their love
Growing up, I had one set of grandparents who lived a couple blocks away and another set across the state. It wasn't possible for the far away grandparents to be as involved in my life, but they did their best by sending birthday gifts, Christmas cards and other random letters and packages throughout the year. Make sure you let those grandparents know how much you appreciate their gifts and their thoughts.
I hate to be cliché, but it's true a picture is worth a thousand words. In addition to calling grandparents, consider sending them pictures whenever you can and in whatever format you have available to you. Email makes sending pictures quick and easy. Some really hip grandparents are on Facebook and you can tag them in albums or pictures you'd like them to look at. You can also go the old-fashioned route of sending pictures through snail mail. This format is especially nice because it gives them something solid to hold on to and frame.
It's not always possible, but if you are in a position to visit grandparents, do so on a regular basis. Nothing can replace the personal touch of looking in your grandparents' eyes, allowing them to hold or play with your children and having a real, in-person conversation. All other forms of communication are also important, but nothing says love quite so much as a warm hug between grandparent and grandchild.