Bonding with grandchildren is a challenge whether across town or across the country. Today’s grandparents have a special incentive to adapt to technology in order to stay in touch with their families and in particular, their grandchildren. It’s important to learn ways to use technology to keep plugged-in to their lives.
While being up on Facebook or other social networking sites is a fun way to keep up with your family’s activities, it’s not always the most interactive way to foster a relationship by utilizing technology. Engaging in creative activities can provide an opportunity for both in-town and long distance grandparents to have a more connected role in your grandchildren’s lives that are revolving around technology more and more each day.
Some creative ways to utilize technology to stay plugged-in to your grandchildren’s lives:
Curl Up with a Book – It’s not quite the same as cuddling up with your grandchild on your lap, but reading a story to your little one over FaceTime or Skype can be a nice bonding experience. You can check out new books from the library and take them home to read online. You might be surprised with the conversation that can be shared following a thought provoking story read over Skype.
Host a Book Club – You can start a book club for the older grandkids and other family members can join in too. Using webcams, multiple family members can participate on Skype’s conference call option. It’s a great way to have valuable face-time and let your grandchildren share their opinions. Encourage your grandchildren to direct the readings and give them the opportunity to share their knowledge of the book with you.
Who’s on Your Dream Team? Organize a Fantasy Sports League – Introducing a friendly rivalry between you and your grandkids can be an energizing experience. It’s fun to have an outlet to share your more competitive side. Enjoy teasing each other regarding team players and athletic management styles. Sports knowledge and game experience are not factors here. It’s all about having fun!
Get Cooking – Plan a monthly cooking session that begins with an email exchange of a special family recipe and a grocery list. Let the grandkids go shopping for their list of ingredients and then designate a special time to make the recipe with them together over FaceTime or Skype. You can answer food prep questions and coach your grandchildren along the way. In the end, you’ll have a wonderful dish to enjoy together and many special moments swapping stories.
Let the Games Begin! One of the coolest things you can do with your grandchild is play an online game together. There are lots of options for word scrambles, crossword puzzles, chess and much more. Kids love knowing you understand what they are doing and that you are having fun with it. Sharing the entertainment value of gaming is one thing, but having the opportunity to teach important life lessons like gracious winning and good sportsmanship helps you connect with your grandchild on a whole new level.
Do You See What I See? An animal-watching challenge is another fun activity to share with your grandkids. This activity does require some help from Mom and Dad with the usage of their camera phones, but it is also a great way to get everyone in the family involved. Younger kids love taking pictures of animals and sending and receiving online mail. This is a fun little contest that involves taking pictures and identifying wildlife as your child sees it. Then sending the picture on to Grandma and Grandpa and vice versa. The search does turn into a real bonding experience when your grandchild spots a new animal and gets excited about it.
Technology is an important factor whether you are fostering relationships with your grandchildren across the country or across town. The digital world has much more to offer you beyond social networking sites. They are fun and entertaining to follow, but don’t forget to use technology to your advantage in promoting a personal and ever-expanding relationship with your loved ones.