BY KERRY BYRNE
During a recent meeting with grandparents in The Long Distance Grandparent Society membership program, a new member asked about how to get the parents more engaged in facilitating the relationship she was trying to nurture with her grandchildren.
We all shared ideas and then one of our long-standing members said:
Whatever you do, don’t give up.
And others chimed in with the same sentiment and with stories about how the relationship can ebb and flow from a distance.
And that it can feel like you are throwing spaghetti at the wall, waiting for one piece to stick.
But then when it does, the consensus was that the work and the wait is worth it.
Grandparenting from a distance takes extra time and effort.
Those viral videos of grandparents and grandchildren sharing a moment together that we all like to watch and share reflect just one moment in time.
But that viral moment of a grandchild running into their grandparent’s arms didn’t just happen overnight.
Behind the video is a grandparent and/or a parent who prioritized the relationship. They travelled the extra mile both literally and figuratively.
In my research on grandparenting, one theme keeps coming up:
There is a lot of value contained in strong and positive relationships between grandparents and grandchildren. It sounds cliché, but this relationship is indeed the gift that keeps on giving.
Positive relationships with a grandparent have been associated with fewer symptoms of depression, higher reports of well-being in older grandchildren and less ageist views towards older adults in even very young grandchildren.
Now of course, having a strong and positive relationship is easier said than done, especially from a distance. But it’s not impossible.
So how can you show up in a meaningful way as a long distance grandparent and stay inspired to keep connecting – even if you aren’t getting much back?
“Whether it’s a Monday morning motivational text, a monthly care package or a short video every Saturday morning letting them know how much you love them, just do it regularly.”
Commit to doing at least one thing on a regular basis so you can be a consistent and loving connection your grandchild can rely upon.
Whether it’s a Monday morning motivational text, a monthly care package or a short video every Saturday morning letting them know how much you love them, just do it regularly.
For some extra inspiration, check out this free resource for long distance grandparents: 3 Things You Can Do Today to Build Bonds with Your Grandchildren from a Distance
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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: https://thelongdistancegrandparent.com/