Challenges of connecting with a young faraway grandchild.

“Hi, Lauren. It’s Grandpa! How are you, sweet baby? Are you having a good day? Grandpa loves you sooooo much!” 

After that little bit of talking – eeek! – you might be totally out of ideas for what to say on a phone call with your four-month old granddaughter.

No doubt about it: babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and young kids are simply adorable as they charm you with their cuteness, innocence, and wonder with the world. But they are also the most difficult to connect with when you live out of town.

The reasons why it’s difficult to connect include:

  • A baby or child has no social skills. They feel no desire or obligation to connect with this adult who has a title of grandparent.
  • If we try reaching the grands by mail, it’s not until age three or four that they even “get” that we’re the one who sent the card, letter, or package.
  • A small child’s limited memory adds to the challenge of being an away grandparent. I could have a terrific visit with my grandchildren in the Fall, having a tea party, going to the pumpkin patch, baking apple bread, and enjoying trick-or-treating. But if I have little contact with them until my visit the following spring, I could be starting from scratch in our relationship.
  • Children connect with people who are part of their lives, right in front of them. Your grandson Aiden will know and like the next-door neighbor lady more than you – unless you build a strong and solid relationship by becoming a real part of his life.
  • Young grandchildren often remain mute on the phone, offering little response — sometimes even to direct questions.

To build a relationship, you need to know your granddaughter loves dinosaurs, hates loud noises, knows how to build a tower out of Legos, loves Wednesday because it’s trash truck day, and thinks strawberries are the best food on the planet. She needs to know that you’re afraid of spiders, have six brothers and sisters, love classical music, don’t like the color orange, broke your glasses because you left them outside yesterday, and have a collection of fountain pens.

Building relationships with wee ones takes a lot of effort … and there are significant challenges. But you can connect through video chats, phone calls, mail, visits, and more. The result is strong, mutually-beneficial relationships.

How do you keep connected with your out-of-town grandkids? Any special tips you could share with those of us desperate to make these relationships work? Please use the Comments section below.

6 thoughts on “Challenges of connecting with a young faraway grandchild.”

  1. Skype keeps my husband and me connected with our twin granddaughters in Atlanta. We’ve done it since they were babies but it’s easier now that they are 4. We Skype at least once a week and that keeps us in touch between visits.

  2. We are novices at this, as our sweet girl is just a bit more than three months old. We have been buying books for her since before she was born, and writing notes about why we chose that particular book, when and where we got it, etc. I know that her parents will share that when they read it together. Thanks to everyone for the insights and hints. It’s really hard to miss out on something so important!

  3. We are novices at this as our sweet granddaughter is just over three months old! We have been giving her books since before she was born, with a note inside about why this particular book is important to us, when and where we got it, etc. I know her parents will share this each time they read the book to her. Thanks for the insights- this is hard!

    • It is hard, but sounds like you’re on the right track about making connections. I love your book idea! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Yes, we are also in this situation! We are in the UK and our daughter and family including our 2-year old granddaughter, are in Waco, Texas. It is hard but we are blessed by being able to use FaceTime (a facility afforded us via iPhone). The beauty of this is we ‘turn up’ everywhere our granddaughter goes, via her Mummy’s iPhone! They have recently been on holiday, and we were able to talk to her there as well as on the journey home a few days later. We do spend physical time with her once or twice a year just to catch up on cuddles and story-reading. It was a joy recently to be there as she came down to her presents on her birthday and we were able to watch her open them. Her Mummy told us which presents were from us and she opened them and said, Thank you, at the time! I thank God that we are so, so fortunate to have modern-day technology which keeps up connected!

    I hope you all have fun connecting with your little faraway treasures via whatever means you have available to you.

    • Chris, when I feel sorry for myself because my grandkids are across the country, I remember people like you whose grandkids are around the world.
      I admire do much how you are connecting with your granddaughter in Texas! You’re not letting miles away prevent you from being terrific grandparents. Thanks for sharing your story and please keep sharing any tips you have. – Jane

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