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GRAND Gratitude: Together from a distance

GRAND Gratitude: Together from a distance


There is a lot of buzz about the benefits of gratitude, no matter your age. I describe it to my children as being thankful because it is easier and more straightforward for younger kids to understand.

While I’m not an expert in gratitude, I think using it to bond with your grandchildren is a great way to create meaningful moments in your relationship.

Have you tried sending “thank-you for your time” notes? This type of thank-you note focuses on what all grandparents want more of with their grandchildren: time. Writing thank-you for your time notes shows your grandchild you really value and treasure the moments you have together – whether in-person or virtual.

How about helping your grandchildren write thank-you notes to another family member? Get together on a video chat and write a thank-you to mom/dad or an auntie/uncle.

grandchildrenMake it extra fun by sending writing paper or a blank postcard and a pre-stamped envelope (if needed) in advance. Pop in some stickers or a nice writing pen and ask them to meet you on a video chat so you can write the letter together. This creates an activity for a video chat and offers the opportunity to talk about why sending a note like this is so important.

“While I’m not an expert in gratitude, I think using it to bond with your grandchildren is a great way to create meaningful moments in your relationship.”

Finally, challenge yourself to take a few minutes each day to write out what you are grateful for about your grandchild. You can do this as a challenge with grandpa or do it with a friend who is a grandparent.

It can be for 10 days or 30   – whatever you think you can commit to right now.

“Don’t be afraid to doodle on the index cards or draw pictures.”

Use small index cards or sticky notes. Try things like: I am grateful for your toothy grin, your giggle,  the kisses you blow over video chats, the jokes you tell, the way you work so hard at learning to read, the pictures you draw for me, how you help your mom around the house, that you learned to drive, that you make time to text me – the possibilities are endless but this list should get your thankfulness juices flowing!

Don’t be afraid to doodle on the index cards or draw pictures. No matter your grandchild’s age. If you are like me and your drawing capacity is limited to stick people, your grandchild will still love the effort.

Send the cards to your grandchild all at once and they will have your reflections forever, alongside a gift of gratitude to make them feel as special as they are to you.

Read more from Dr. Bryne

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Kerry Byrne, Ph.D. is a care and connections research scientist focused on helping grandparents nurture strong bonds with their grandchildren from a distance. For more ideas about how to stay connected to your grandchildren, you can sign-up for her weekly ideas and inspirations on her website:


Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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