Forming a close bond with your grandchildren is one of the most rewarding aspects of growing older. But when you live in another city or even out of state, it can be tough to maintain a lasting relationship as your grandchildren grow up. While it may have been enough to pop over to their house and ask about their lives once upon a time, now that you live away from the family, you’ll need to do more to keep an active role in the life of your grandkids. Luckily, with a bit of research and some effort on both ends, it is possible to keep your bond strong and have a healthy relationship with your grandchildren as they grow from tiny tots into full-fledged adults.
If your worry about keeping a strong bond with your grandkids is something that keeps you up at night, you are not alone. In fact, a 2002 AARP report indicated that around 50 percent of grandparents live more than 200 miles away from their beloved grandchildren. So, what can you do to help make sure you have a relationship that will last for decades? Whether your kids had to move away for work or you found yourself a great new retirement community outside of town, there are plenty of options for strengthening your bond together.
Schedule Regular Conversations
Though technology has made keeping in touch with loved ones a lot easier than it has been in years past, becoming an important part of your grandchild’s life takes a bit of extra effort on your part. While you may be tempted to simply send your grandkids a text once a week to see how school is going, it may be beneficial to take advantage of video calling or other chat options.
There are several free video-calling applications available online —or on your smartphone— that will allow you to chat with your grandchildren face to face. You can use the built-in camera on your smartphone and any newer laptop or simply buy one to add on to your desktop setup. While they can take a bit to get used to, this is a great way to communicate with modern grandchildren. Instead of them telling you about their newest art project or the rewards from their latest shopping adventure, they can show you and feel more connected to you when you speak.
Find Out What They Like
Another great way of connecting on a deeper level with grandkids is to find out what their interests are. If you’re already into video chatting with your long-distance grandkids, you can also play games together online. Whether you’re into card games, adventure games or you’re ready to purchase the newest game console to add to your entertainment center —creating a bond while having fun together is an awesome way to feel more connected.
However, if you aren’t the most technologically savvy grandparent around, you don’t have to rely on the internet or video games to feel closer to long-distance grandkids. Not being online regularly or not owning a computer shouldn’t hinder you from finding common interests with your grandkids. Instead of hopping online, try picking up a good old-fashioned telephone and giving them a call. Or if you’d like to do something really special, you could write letters to each other and become pen pals. It may even help to start reading the same books together over the phone and share special stories between the two of you.
Stay Closer When You’re Far Away
Distance from loved ones can be a frightening idea when you first move away to live in a new neighborhood or assisted living facility, but that shouldn’t keep you from living a full and happy life. With the help of your children, a bit of extra effort on your part and a few inventive ways of staying connected, you can have a long-lasting relationship with your grandkids when living away. Try working with their parents to learn more about important dates and activities, like soccer games and the big math test. When you have a better idea of what’s going on in their lives, your weekly chats will be much more fun. And don’t forget to let them know what is going on in your life as well. Tell them about your new friends that you’ve made in your new retirement community, let them know how that trial yoga class went and send them pictures of your favorite pets!
At the Cypress of Charlotte, we want to make sure life is full and good for all of our residents. From taking advantage of the club lifestyle to transitioning away from loved ones and focusing on your wellness, it is important that our residents feel as though they have every advantage in their later years. For more information on staying connected to your loved ones or to take a closer look at the beautiful homes in our retirement community, be sure to visit the team at The Cypress of Charlotte online today!