Working and playing with grandkids — 2,000 miles away.

“Gram, I’m in a panic. Can you help?”

She can be a tad dramatic, my granddaughter Charlotte, age 9. (But it’s just the right amount because I find a bit of drama totally adorable!)

When she FaceTimed me the other night with her woes, Charlotte was in her bedroom which was more than a little messy. When I’m visiting her house, I have helped her clean her room. I offer loads of suggestions, help keep her focused, but we always talk and laugh and have some fun. Now she was asking me to do the same across the miles. She propped her iPad on a holder so I could see the target area (a desk, the floor, etc.).

I did what I do when I’m there, except, of course, I didn’t actually pick up items and put them away. “What about gathering up all the books first, and get them back on the book shelf,” I suggest. Of course, as she’s doing that, we’re talking about which ones she liked. I’m in her world and I love it.

And so it goes. I’m not there. But I am.

“I’m bored.”

That was the complaint of our grandson, 7-year old Anderson, the next day.  Hang on — we can bust boredom!

My husband started playing a card game with Anderson and our boy got very involved right away. Recently we bought a card game called Speedy Words that’s easy to play on a video chat. It’s liked by our three oldest grandkids, ages 5-9, and they love challenging one of us to a game. (We love that it’s educational, too.)

“Oh, this one is hard,” my husband said as he turned over the next card. “Name a food that starts with U.”

Game On! Grandpa holds the iPad with one hand so Anderson can see the cards as they are turned over.

“Uncrustables!” Anderson shouted with joy and gusto. It’s a brand name but Uncrustables are food and we loved his clever answer. My husband hadn’t come up with anything.

The video chatting journey.

As I watched them play, I thought back to how years ago we used our iPad to watch our grandbabies coo and sit in a high chair or crawl across the floor. Video chatting with a baby was a challenge! Now our usage of video chat — Skype, FaceTime, Google Duo, Facebook Portal, Zoom — has evolved helping clean a room or relieving boredom. Or giving an opinion on a Halloween costume. Watching them try out inline skates. The power of video chatting has grown with us, allowing us to do everything from singing a lullaby to watching a grandchild cook a carrot cake.

I am thrilled we are so connected and I hope each of you finds video chatting to be a lifesaver. What are some of the ways you use it? Please share in the Comments section below.

No time to write any more! Five-year old Fiona wants me to read some books to her.



4 thoughts on “Working and playing with grandkids — 2,000 miles away.”

  1. Just about every weekday, I Skype with my granddaughter on her car ride home from daycare. Her Daddy concentrates on driving and Avery and I chat and have fun. It’s my favorite part of the day!

  2. Two of my grandkids (8 and 5 year old girls) are in the Middle East. We often have a hard time finding things to do on FaceTime. I’m definitely looking into this card game. I’m always open to other suggestions. Always trying to find ways to get closer to them. Thank you.

    • Oh, Mary, I’m sorry they are so very far away. That must be rough, for all of you.

      The word game is fun and easy to do on a video chat. I do have other ideas for what to do during these special times. You’ll find my articles on this Miles Away Grandparenting website by going to the homepage and clicking on the menu. Next, click on “Video Chatting” to see pages of articles on that topic. I hope you find ideas that works for you!

      My granddaughters are 9 and almost 6 and here’s another approach which works: I find they like to get involved in my life and my house. I will ask their opinions on which of my placemats go best with certain dinner plates … or which earrings should I wear with this sweater. Which of these three ideas for dinner sound best? Which of these five ideas for a gift for my best friend would be a hit? When I decorate for a season — fall, Christmas, etc — they are eager to watch me decorate (yes, I carry the iPad around) and offer suggestions as to what goes where. The girls seem to be flattered that I want their opinions. Of course the point of these kinds of interactions is not to get something accomplished! It’s to spend time together. We also talk and laugh and get silly!



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