Saturday, April 10, 2010


Dear Mr. Morton- Our children love both our parents, but they live far away. Any tips on how to shorten the distance between grandparents and children?- Parents

Dear Parents- One couple I knew had their kids spend a week each summer visiting grandparents, who pre-planned activities they knew the grandkids would enjoy, like horseback riding, putt-putt golf, and touring an amusement park. Most parents I know enjoy the quality time grandma/grandpa spend with their children. It seems since grandparents aren’t too busy supporting them, they can enjoy them better. Funny, but when we can finally afford to have children, we’ll be having grandchildren.
Despite the miles separating grandparents from grandchildren, creative use of tape recorders, camcorders, computers, and letter-writing can maintain the special bond. A growing number of grandparents and grandkids know how to use the Internet to send email. Why not teach both how to send photos, colorful type, clipart pictures, and more to write fun notes via the internet. Heck! Why not have weekly video-conferences with a webcam? Grandparents and grandkids can use the webcam to join in everyday events, like drawing a picture while grandma watches, then holding it up to the webcam for her to see it. Using a FREE webcam, children have played games with grandparents, like Twenty Questions or figured out crossword puzzles. Children’s story books can be read over the webcam as well. Your children can even eat dinner with grandma's company on the webcam, or invite their grandparents to join a birthday party online.Check out a site that's especially for savvy grandparents click HERE!

One couple used a small cassette recorder and sent audio tapes back and forth. They progressed to making videotapes and DVD’s. One family mails tapes and DVD slide shows of pictures back and forth. A tape of family stories or books read by Grandma or Grandpa makes a treasured gift to a younger child or even an older one.
Personalized Stationery for Kids!
But, good old snail-mail is just as effective in maintaining the grandparent-grandchild bond. Letters and packages should be sent directly to the grandkids, garnished with colorful stamps, fancy stickers, and all the trimmings. A regular system of letters from grandparents makes grandkids feel special and also makes visits and talking on the phone more rewarding. There’s something special about seeing a loved one's handwriting. If handwriting is difficult, consider using a small cassette recorder to make audio "letters." Of course, a videotape or DVD film would be even more special. One family mails tapes and DVD slide shows of pictures back and forth. A tape of family stories or books read by Grandma or Grandpa makes a treasured gift to a younger child or even an older one.
Get an unlimited free cell phone deal and let them call each other often. Check out various phone plans that are offered; many have come down in long distance pricings. And, have them send pieces of art work, school work and drawings to both your folks as well. Likewise, receiving homemade video-tapes will keep vivid grandparent memories alive in your children’s minds.
Picaboo Family Photo Books
One woman told me her mother gave a box of mementos, including a passé fur collar made from fox pelts, complete with ears, tail and eye slits. Her daughter was fascinated by it and said, “They’re dead…but the bodies are still there!”
A grandparent’s bond is priceless. Your children will carry their special relationship with both sets of grandparents into their own adulthood and deliver it someday to their own grandchildren. Plant a seed- allow your children to stay close to your parents, even if they’re far away. They’ll always remember you cared enough to try.
Here's some great links:
I guess it could all be summed up by what the sociologist Theodore Rozak said. In “The Making of an Elder Culture,” he asks what grandparents see in their grandchildren. His answer: “They see life renewing itself, a small antidote to mortality. All that we humans value most but see slipping away is reborn in the young — hope, vitality, wonder, innocence. Children are the delicate shields we raise against death. That is why we hold them dear.”
Note: Scroll down the right margin to Code "(K) GRANDPARENTING FROM AFAR!" and view free daily-updated newspaper & journal articles and videos on the topic.
Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S., has retired from his positions of school psychologist and adjunct professor in the School of Leadership & Policy Studies at BGSU. Questions about family, parenting, personal or educational issues? Contact him at the secure Bpath Mail Form . To visit the national FAMILY JOURNAL column, click HERE., Inc.