Long Distance, Please

Helping Children Keep in Touch

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Do you live far from your loved ones? Adding a touch of planning and a pinch of creativity to your bag of tricks can help strengthen your children’s bond with cross-country grandparents and distant relatives.

Gone are the days when families separated by even short distances had to wait months between correspondences. Today’s far-flung families depend largely on modern-day communication methods to keep in touch. But how is a parent to nurture a special relationship between their children and long-distance grandparents?

By combining traditional methods of communication, new technology, and a little creativity, parents can help their children to maintain a sense of closeness with grandparents living miles away. Even if the length of time between visits seems insurmountable, your children can still foster a loving and unique relationship with their grandparents—one that will provide great memories and much laughter for everyone.

Ma Bell

Young children often struggle with talking on the phone, making conversations one-sided and sometimes difficult for older relatives. Add a few of these suggestions to your bag of tricks, and your long-distance phone bill will seem a bit more worthwhile.

  • Before you dial the phone, suggest some conversation starters. Remind your kids of something that happened recently or an event that they attended. 

  • For those children who become truly tongue-tied on the phone, suggest making a few notes or drawing a picture of things that they will want to remember to tell Grandma or Grandpa. 

  • It is often difficult for children to understand that the person on the other end of the phone line cannot see their actions. Remind them that instead of simply nodding their heads when responding to a question, they must verbalize their answers. 

  • If Grandpa’s hearing isn’t what it used to be, make sure your kids understand they need to speak clearly. Remind them that if they are asked to repeat something, they should do so in a louder voice. 

  • Keep long-distance family members up to date on your children’s current interests. If they know what activities your child is participating in, it will be easier for them to ask about game scores or upcoming school projects. 

  • If your young child is difficult to understand, you may want to get on another extension. This can help facilitate the conversation—with you there to help explain what your child is saying.

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