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RoseRed135

Staying Connected Long Distance - What works and what doesn't?

30 posts in this topic

Skyping.... FaceTime... emails... snail mail.... recordable books.... visiting back and forth.... etc... What have you tried to stay in touch with your long distance AC (adult children) and GC (grandchildren) or other family members? What has worked for you and what hasn't?

Edited by RoseRed135
typo

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I first became a long distance grandparent 15 years ago. For the first couple of years, I tried to scrapbook as many photos as I could get my hands on to make a scrapbook for my beautiful grandchildren. Sadly, I didn't get many photos because the parents weren't particularly photo oriented, and the ones I did get were too small to print well because they were taken on phones.  (Fifteen years ago, that made more difference than it does today.) Nonetheless, I persevered until I discovered that the books had been "lost" after I turned them over. Hmm. Now worth the expense then. ;)

Now I think in the much shorter term. From the month each grandchild turns 2 years old, I send them a card or letter each month. I make sure that their mothers know that all I request is that the child know it's from Grandma and that I understand that early letters will probably get chewed on, flushed down the toilet, or mangled.  The point is a regular stream of letters just for them from me. Some of their mothers (we have four adult sons and one teen-aged son) reclaim the letters and put them away in a box, and some let the children play with the letters as long as they want to. In mot cases, I have no idea who is doing what and I try not to care.

For a few years, I sometimes wondered whether it was worth the effort and expense. I wasn't sure if the grandchildren cared about letters in the mail or connected them with me as a person. But twice now, in two different families, I have seen the fruit of my labours. :) The tiny ones don't seem to make the connections and remain wary of me, but as young as three years old, when meeting me for the first time I have ad my beautiful babies greet me with the kind of joy and enthusiasm I was afraid I would never evoke. It warmed my heart and keeps me writing when I feel uninspired and sad.

What I send varies a great deal. Sometimes I hand make stationery or greeting cards for an occasion. Sometimes I put stickers on a piece of lined paper and write a longer letter. Sometimes I buy a commercial postcard and say variations of "I love you,I am thinking about you. I miss you."

I don't have much money to send gifts, especially not to a dozen beloveds, but I am always looking for more ideas. :)

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My Grands/Great-grands range in age from 7-27 years old. They are spread out all over this land but my method of constant connection is that I do a family newsletter each Sunday morning and it now includes about 60 family and close to family members. The grandkids read it to find out if I mention them and their accomplishments. I also do birthdays and that keeps them involved.

I am blessed to have children that recognize that a call from Grandpa Neil when they do well in school, or some activity is like icing on their cake. This also goes a long way to assuring my Grandparents rights for the future.

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I love the newsletter idea for long distance! My GK are all fairly local, but involves divorced households & parent visitation....we make it work and I see anyone & everyone every chance I get. 

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9 hours ago, upsidedownhugchamp said:

My Grands/Great-grands range in age from 7-27 years old. They are spread out all over this land but my method of constant connection is that I do a family newsletter each Sunday morning and it now includes about 60 family and close to family members. The grandkids read it to find out if I mention them and their accomplishments. I also do birthdays and that keeps them involved.

I am blessed to have children that recognize that a call from Grandpa Neil when they do well in school, or some activity is like icing on their cake. This also goes a long way to assuring my Grandparents rights for the future.

Welcome back upsidedownhugchamp! Haven't seen you in a long time!

How wonderful that you have both GC (grandchildren) and GGC! It's unfortunate that some of them live far away, but what a great idea your newsletter is! You sound like a fun, imaginative and caring GF (grandfather). And it sounds as if your family appreciates it, too, so that's great! kudos to you and your AC (adult children) for keeping these relationships alive and thriving! :db:

Edited by RoseRed135
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I have an AC and grand daughter GD in OK.  Facetime has been wonderful.  GD is very familiar with all of us back home.  However, I love the idea of a letter in my cards to her.  Thank you GrandmaMisti!!

 

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On 2/13/2017 at 8:53 PM, GrandmaMisti said:

I first became a long distance grandparent 15 years ago. For the first couple of years, I tried to scrapbook as many photos as I could get my hands on to make a scrapbook for my beautiful grandchildren. Sadly, I didn't get many photos because the parents weren't particularly photo oriented, and the ones I did get were too small to print well because they were taken on phones.  (Fifteen years ago, that made more difference than it does today.) Nonetheless, I persevered until I discovered that the books had been "lost" after I turned them over. Hmm. Now worth the expense then. ;)

Now I think in the much shorter term. From the month each grandchild turns 2 years old, I send them a card or letter each month. I make sure that their mothers know that all I request is that the child know it's from Grandma and that I understand that early letters will probably get chewed on, flushed down the toilet, or mangled.  The point is a regular stream of letters just for them from me. Some of their mothers (we have four adult sons and one teen-aged son) reclaim the letters and put them away in a box, and some let the children play with the letters as long as they want to. In mot cases, I have no idea who is doing what and I try not to care.

For a few years, I sometimes wondered whether it was worth the effort and expense. I wasn't sure if the grandchildren cared about letters in the mail or connected them with me as a person. But twice now, in two different families, I have seen the fruit of my labours. :) The tiny ones don't seem to make the connections and remain wary of me, but as young as three years old, when meeting me for the first time I have ad my beautiful babies greet me with the kind of joy and enthusiasm I was afraid I would never evoke. It warmed my heart and keeps me writing when I feel uninspired and sad.

What I send varies a great deal. Sometimes I hand make stationery or greeting cards for an occasion. Sometimes I put stickers on a piece of lined paper and write a longer letter. Sometimes I buy a commercial postcard and say variations of "I love you,I am thinking about you. I miss you."

I don't have much money to send gifts, especially not to a dozen beloveds, but I am always looking for more ideas. :)

Such a delightful post, GrandmaMisti! As you can see it has already inspired  at least one other GM (below). As for getting "more ideas," hopefully, other members will come in w/ some. :)

Netty, I'm glad to hear that "Facetime has been wonderful!" And glad you found inspiration for a new idea here. Please let us know if you try it and how it pans out for you. :)

On 2/27/2017 at 3:15 PM, netty81 said:

I have an AC and grand daughter GD in OK.  Facetime has been wonderful.  GD is very familiar with all of us back home.  However, I love the idea of a letter in my cards to her.  Thank you GrandmaMisti!!

 

 

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Posted (edited)

On 2/20/2017 at 10:10 AM, upsidedownhugchamp said:

My Grands/Great-grands range in age from 7-27 years old. They are spread out all over this land but my method of constant connection is that I do a family newsletter each Sunday morning and it now includes about 60 family and close to family members. The grandkids read it to find out if I mention them and their accomplishments. I also do birthdays and that keeps them involved.

 

Actually, people, talk of a newsletter gave me the idea for a new thread:

 

 

Edited by RoseRed135

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On 2/27/2017 at 7:15 AM, netty81 said:

...I love the idea of a letter in my cards to her.  Thank you GrandmaMisti!!

 

You're very welcome, Netty!  So glad to help another Grandma. :)

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1 hour ago, RoseRed135 said:

Such a delightful post, GrandmaMisti! As you can see it has already inspired  at least one other GM (below). As for getting "more ideas," hopefully, other members will come in w/ some. :)

Thank you, RoseRed. :) And thank you, too, for drawing my attention to Netty's comment. It's letter week, so I haven't been around much. :P 

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My son is a Music minister at his church an hours drive from home so every Sunday morning I get a call from one of the three Grands in the car. It is an every week connection that I look forward to. I must admit that my question asking skills are tested on my 8 year old bonus GS, 10 year old bonus GD and 11 year old biological GD. Each has a different interest and I challenge myself each week to remain interesting to them. I must admit, I do write myself notes with things like; best friends names, teachers names, etc.

I am blessed doubly since my son and I talk regularly but I always ask to talk with my (I hope) future DIL. I call this preemptive Grandparents Rights.

I am inspired by being a part of this group.

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I totally agree upside! My DS divorced after 10 years & 3 kids...he remarried last year to a lovely woman (widow!) with 2 kids, now 3 & 6...I embraced her kids immediately. Recently her 6yo DS, after a spat with his mom told her he was going to run away to Mame's house! We'll be working on the public transportation aspect of that sooner than we planned. So, along with DD's 1, DsD's 2, DS' 5 and a cousin of DD's son (also an only child, they are the same age)....I have 9 grandkids....6 boys, 3 girls ages 3-12. Each wonderfully unique. (4 bio, 4 step & 1 by attrition....). I also try to remember those personal details for conversations. None of my boys have any interest in talking on the phone, the girlies (3, 5 & 6) aren't phone prone yet. 

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Mame925 I know what you mean about the younger ones and the phone. My very introverted 8 year old bonus grandson is a game kind of guy so I ask his mom about his newest game and then I ask him to teach me about it. His Mom let's me know if he has significant accomplishments and then I just give him a "Way to go". The other thing that works pretty well is asking about their best friends at school.

I just keep throwing mud on the wall and, after some long silences, sooner or later some of it sticks.  Good Luck

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Here is an example of the "men in the family" and their genetic aversion to talking on the phone. The #1GB called me yesterday to invite me to dinner...had a nice long chat....42 seconds. I put it up on facebook. The first response was by xMIL who commiserated, recalling her FIL barely saying a word at family parties...I figured that 5 generations later it wouldn't be so obvious. Pop was born in 1890, the kid 2004. A cousin from that family popped into the FB conversation with "comment from the Mrs....TALK!" (they've been married 51 years)

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I am a struggling distance new grandma and I have learned to be more in the moment rather than longing for contact. My first grandchlld  is 6 months old and I know how to ask for contact, "Send me a new video.  When is a good time to FaceTime? When is a good time to come for another visit?" It works some of the time but here is my worst struggle- When we agree to a phone call/facetime when he is awake, and it never comes.  Then I lightly ask again and it doesn't happen.  I am the Mother in Law so part of the problem is that my son is a wonderful, happy but ADHD self focused son, father and husband. My daughter in law and I have a good relationship but she does not see it as her responsibility to contact me or send me the afore mentioned requests.

I know this is not personal, I am loved but not lucky enough to get contacted. This is my greatest pain.  I remember how life was so busy at this time in parents' lives but I miss them so and feel so devastated when I haven't heard from them for a couple months and we have made a phone appointment to talk.

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5 hours ago, GiGiGion said:

I am a struggling distance new grandma and I have learned to be more in the moment rather than longing for contact. My first grandchlld  is 6 months old and I know how to ask for contact, "Send me a new video.  When is a good time to FaceTime? When is a good time to come for another visit?" It works some of the time but here is my worst struggle- When we agree to a phone call/facetime when he is awake, and it never comes.  Then I lightly ask again and it doesn't happen.  I am the Mother in Law so part of the problem is that my son is a wonderful, happy but ADHD self focused son, father and husband. My daughter in law and I have a good relationship but she does not see it as her responsibility to contact me or send me the afore mentioned requests.

I know this is not personal, I am loved but not lucky enough to get contacted. This is my greatest pain.  I remember how life was so busy at this time in parents' lives but I miss them so and feel so devastated when I haven't heard from them for a couple months and we have made a phone appointment to talk.

Welcome GiGiGion! Glad you decided to join us! And congratulations on being a new GM (grandmother/grandma)!

IMO (in my opinion), you are very wise to "be... in the moment" and to ask when it would be "a good time to FaceTime,," etc. Sorry you're having such a struggle getting DS (dear son) to go through w/ the phone call/FT appointments. That must be very frustrating! (((Hugs!)))

I'm glad you have a good relationship w/ DIL and that you understand that she doesn't feel it's her responsibility to maintain contact w/ you. It may help, also, to know that it;s not unusual for young couples to take a yours/mine approach to family - as in, "You deal w/ yours, I'll deal w/ mine."

Apparently, from what you tell us, DS does come through some of the time, and I'm glad to hear that. As you say, yourself, parents are very busy "at this time in (their) lives," and, in fact, DS may need more time to adjust to being a dad before he can focus on anyone else. Hopefully, he will sooner rather than later.. Also, IMO, you'll adjust more, after a while, to the time intervals that pass between contacts. Please stay in touch w/ us, so that, perhaps, we can help you through this. More (((hugs!)))

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Thank you for your comments. They are helpful and of course it's less lonely when somebody gets it. 

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The article from grandparents.com was great! Thanks, RoseRed135, for posting the link to it here! I particularly liked the idea about the blank postcards with my address written on them and already stamped; I've already ordered two pads of those and will take them with me the next time I visit my family. At the end of my visit, when I am leaving and everyone is sad, I'll give each of my granddaughters a pad of blank, stamped postcards and make them promise to draw pictures on them and mail them to me whenever they miss me! I think we'll all feel better!

And speaking of postcards and letters, I wanted to respond to what GrandmaMisti wrote back in February. I had thought of making my own personalized postcards or cards for my granddaughters, who live several states away, but I haven't done it because of my memory of my own children's reaction to their stepgrandparents' handmade cards sent to them many years ago when they were children. They never seemed to care about them and in fact I heard them make fun of them more than once. Since these people were not related to me (my ex-husband's wife's parents) I was never concerned because I didn't expect my children to be close to them or see them as their "real" grandparents. 

However, in hindsight and especially after reading GrandmaMisti's post, I am seeing things a little more clearly tonight. And I am now reminded that in actual fact, my sons did end up feeling very close to their step-grandparents, and were very affected by their deaths, and have talked fondly about them quite a bit since then. Although they might have thought the handmade postcards were a little "corny" and "country" when they were kids, I think they still liked them and their hearts were touched by the love their step-grandparents obviously had for them. This is an important thing for me to remember.

Thanks to everyone who has posted in this thread, because I gained insight from everything written here. 

 

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Hi everyone. I'm looking for thoughts and advice on birthday cards and presents for my family. 

I have so many family members I struggle to keep up with all their birthdays. 

What are your ideas on how to send birthday cards to them all and maybe a little present?

Thanks in advance.

Regards
Martha
 

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I only send cards to my kids and grands.  I will send a greeting on social media to siblings and their spouses if on fb and I usually call my older sister who isn't.  I can't even remember the last time a sent a small gift to my own Mom who is 90 and could care less, she doesn't send cards either.

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@Marthasimmonds54  - I enjoy cards (both sending and receiving). However, like Sue, DH and I also tend to limit how many we send/give. Not just b/c of the accumulated expense, but also b/c of how stressful we feel it would be to keep on top of all the bdays in our extended family. My DDS, SIL and DGC are the only ones who receive bday cards from us.

One of the things I like about FB is that it reminds/informs me of people's bdays, so I don't have to keep track. Granted, that's only true for my relatives who are on FB, but many of them are. (I keep several family bdays marked on my calendar, but, admittedly, don't always note them. So those FB reminders are still helpful.) If you're on FB, you might want to take advantage of that feature.

We also limit the number of bday presents we give - again, only our DDs, DGC and SIL get bday gifts from us.

You might want to think about setting some limits on bday cards and/or gifts, as well. That way it would be less of a "struggle" to "keep up" w/ the bdays of your "many family members."

Regardless, if you send someone a gift, choosing an item online and having them send it might be the least stressful way to do it. :)

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Thanks everyone for those nice suggestions! I'm trying to get all options regarding sending real cards and presents for my family. Anyone can add more? Do you know any other website that has less than $10 price for the gifts/cards though?
 

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2 hours ago, Marthasimmonds54 said:

Thanks everyone for those nice suggestions! I'm trying to get all options regarding sending real cards and presents for my family. Anyone can add more? Do you know any other website that has less than $10 price for the gifts/cards though?

Glad you appreciate our suggestions, Martha!

@All - Please remember that though you can give Martha the name of a website that sells cards/gifts, you can't provide the link b/c that be a link to an unauthorized ad and violate Guideline 5f. Thank you. :)

Edited by RoseRed135

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