…away from grandparents.
When God called us to live overseas (pre-kids), we knew there would be sacrifices involved. We didn’t really know until we had children how painful it would be to move them away from their grandparents (for all parties involved!) One of the lessons I learned through Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God Bible study was that my obedience is costly to those around me– how true when it comes to my kids and their grandparents! I am still figuring out how to encourage this unique relationship Ladybug, Stinkbug, and Doodlebug have with their extended family who live across the ocean, but I have a few ideas about how to make this long-distance thing work:
- Skype. Basically it’s a video chat through the internet. You don’t have to live overseas to appreciate the benefits of Skype to a grandparent-grandchildren relationship. Before we moved overseas we would use it– it’s a great way for grandparents to be able to read bed-time stories, see school projects, and hear their beloved grandkids. And best of all– it’s free! You might need to work out specific Skype “date” times (especially if you live in different time zones). We can usually Skype with my parents one weekday before they go to work, but we try to catch Hubby’s parents over the weekends. Skype also allows us to spend time “together” on special days like birthdays and Christmas. (There are other video chat programs you could look into including one from Google. Skype is the only one I have experience with.)
- Blogs. Blogs, or weblogs, are very popular nowadays and pretty easy to set up and get started. Blogger , Tumblr, and WordPress are popular hosts for blogs, and are fairly easy to navigate and manipulate. (And they are free!) You can write, add pictures and add videos– it’s a great way grandparents can see what’s going on with a single click! It only takes a little effort to post a funny story, or a picture of the kids when you have the chance.
- Video Websites. Sites like Vimeo and YouTube allow you to upload your videos and share them with friends and family.
- Facebook. Facebook is a great place to dump my pictures of the Bugs and to update quick statuses about the funny things they are doing and saying. It makes it easy to keep extended family updated on what we’re doing. (of course, your family would need to use Facebook in order for this to be an effective way to keep in touch!)
- Snail Mail. I’ll admit I have been bad about this one. (Because in order to send mail, I would have to find my way to the post office, and figure out how to get my envelope where I want it to go. Easier said than done when you live overseas!) I would suggest getting an over-sized envelope and addressing it. Over the course of a few weeks add drawings, painting, notes, and pictures of the kids, and then drop it in the mail. Saving up and then sending a bulk of letters and artwork, would make the trip to the post office a little more “worth it”.
- Photo Books. Ask grandparents to take pictures of each room in their house, their garden, their pets, each family member, their yard, their car, etc. Assemble these pictures into kid-friendly photo albums and give them to your children. The pictures will help your kids remember relatives’ names, as well as places they might not get to visit too often. If your family is not able to come visit you, enlist your children’s help taking picture of your house, pets, neighborhood and make a “show and tell” book to send to their grandparents of where they live. (You could also use a website like Snapfish to create special photo books.)
What are your ideas for making long-distance relationships a little easier for grandparents and grandchildren?