Growing up, my grandparents were my daycare. I spent everyday with them for 4 years before starting school and then spent half my summers camping with them. To this day, I am very close to them. I want my son to be able to have a close relationship with his grandparents, as well. However, my parents live in another city almost 5 hours away. I try to visit about once a month. But, I'm worried that he will not grow up feeling close to them.

Any suggestions on how to help children develop a relationship with their grandparents when they live in another city?

asked 10 Dec '09, 03:07

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cat_g
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We call once a week, and it's not set in stone but I think I'm setting up a web cam chat system this Christmas.

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answered 10 Dec '09, 03:15

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Joel Coehoorn
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+1: Our weekly chats with both sets of grandparents are a huge hit with my 2 year old. She's at the point now where she can have simple conversations with them. In fact, quite often she has pretend conversations with them - carrying the phone around and "telling" them all about the things we've done during the day - very cute!

(10 Dec '09, 04:11) Kate

+1 For routine calls, it does give a sense of closeness.

(10 Dec '09, 11:01) Emi
1

We also use a webcam for relatives that live far away. It's great for helping them get to know each other.

(10 Dec '09, 14:22) nikjoyce

Webcam is a great idea! We're going to set it up this week.

(16 Dec '09, 00:02) cat_g

We use Skype to video chat with the grandparents, who IRL we only see 1-2 times/year. None of them are very computer savvy, but we set it up for them, and they love it!

I also post a lot of photos and videos on Flickr so they can see how he's growing and developing.

I grew up far from my grandparents, and only saw them every couple of years. Even though we're not close to my son's grandparents, I think the internet makes it possible to shorten the distance.

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answered 10 Dec '09, 04:17

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BetsyB
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Yup, Skype really does help

(10 Jan '10, 20:40) Benjol

I find that longer visits, visits without us (parents) present, and special alone time (one-on-one time for each child) build the relationship the quickest. While we can't visit monthly, when we do visit we try to stay for more than a day, and we take advantage of the 'free' babysitting not only so we can get out, but so our kids have alone time with grandma and grandpa.

We also encourage them to ask about and be interested in our parent's interests. It's nice for the grandparents to dote on the children and do what the children want - but that's only half the relationship, and when they grow older we felt they would still feel like they never really knew their grandparents.

So we encouraged all of them to make sure that both sides of the relationship shared their own interests with the other - and it's worked out very well. Our kids know that if they have an art or animal question they go to my mom, for instance, and as they get older they'll discover my father's love of science fiction. Same thing for my wife's parents. Each parent has something interesting to share, and once the kids and grandparents make the right connections they start to build the relationship themselves.

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answered 10 Dec '09, 04:06

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Adam Davis
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+1 for acknowledging each grandparent as an individual and not just as a "grandparent" I agree that that really helps strengthen the bond for when the children are older.

(10 Dec '09, 09:06) Emi

We always try to take a lot of pictures when we are together with grandparents (or any other family member we don't see that often.) Then we can look back and remember what we were doing when we took the pictures. I think it helps keep them in their consciousness.

My 2 yr old loves to sit at the computer and watch the pictures go by pointing out every last detail in them. Three cheers for slideshow settings!

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answered 10 Dec '09, 04:16

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Kate
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Pictures has really worked well for us. With the computer on automatic slideshow the kids will stop and stare at it for minutes whenever they wander through looking at their cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc.

(10 Dec '09, 04:20) Adam Davis

+1 for great use of computer! In addition that, I still like the feel of an envelope from time to time and I like it when my daughter draws a picture and wants to send it to my parents who live in another country. They also send her cards from time to time. This is something spontaneous but the effect is very special, I love the look of my 5 year olds face when she sees an authentic envelope with her name on it.

(10 Dec '09, 09:16) Emi

I live in the Tel Aviv area and my Parents live in Haifa (Israel). This means that there is a distance of roughly 75km - usually an hour's drive.

My family is not exactly 'tight', but we do get together on most weekends for a family meal. This means that about twice a month we drive with our daughter to their place, and sometimes they come to us.

When our Carmel was little, she was shy of my parents, having seen them only a handful of times, and clung to us whenever we came to their place. In time, she learned to recognize them, and as they played with her she loosened up and enjoyed her time there. To give an example of how much she has accepted them, last month my wife and I went on a romantic weekend for two nights and left her with my parents, and she was a perfect angel all weekend. She even talks about them at home when she plays with toys they bought for her.

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answered 10 Dec '09, 12:39

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Yuval
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Asked: 10 Dec '09, 03:07

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Last updated: 01 Mar '12, 16:44