Gavin's chubby 3-year-old fingers dropped the red crayon he'd been gripping firmly and eagerly reached out his hand for the large envelope his mother held. He giggled when he saw the puppy sticker on the back. "I wuv getting mail from Gwandma!" he shouted.
Grandchildren are precious, but because of variable circumstances in life, living near by isn't always an option. However, with a bit of effort, creativity and help from a varied source of modern technology, there are more ways then ever to be close and emotionally connected.
You've Got Mail!
Make the mailbox a fun place to let the grandchildren know you're thinking about them through postcards, letters, pictures, stickers, books and toys. Besides their Birthday and Christmas, other holidays are a great time to send them something special - like a Valentine, an Easter basket or a spooky Halloween treat. For older grandchildren you can also keep in touch by email or facebook.
Call them frequently on the telephone, setting up a specific or regular time to talk when they aren't rushed or send them their own pre-paid calling card as added incentive to call you anytime. You can also talk to them by text or video conferencing on Skype.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Visit them in person whenever you can and be sure to make those visits count. Leave lots of time to spend doing age-appropriate activities they enjoy: play games, take walks, go to the zoo or the mall, bake cookies, watch their favorite tv show together, give them frequent hugs and laugh a lot.
Make Them a Keepsake
Make them a quilt or soft-fleece blanket they can snuggle in while thinking of you, or a create mini-scrapbook filled with family pictures, including some taken together, or send a new Christmas ornament every year.
Connect Through Books
One grandmother whose preschool age grandchildren lived far away purchased some age-appropriate books and recorded herself reading them, including a comment of when it was time to turn each page. These books created a special connection each time the children listened to the story in their grandmother's voice. When they did get to spend time together in person they hadn't forgotten her.
Keep it Positive
Leave the disciplining up to their parents, and the spoiling up to you! Make time to listen, love and encourage your grandchildren. Be someone they feel safe with and trust and your relationship with flourish!