It’s exciting to have grandchildren no matter where they are, but it can be a little heartbreaking when there’s an ocean between you. In our world today, it’s increasingly common for people to go overseas for work. It’s also increasingly common for people to make the permanent move abroad and “go native” in their new adopted home.
If you find yourself with grandkids “across the pond,” don’t despair. You can overcome a few small challenges and you’ll play just as important a role in your grandchildren’s lives as you would living right next door.
Coming to Terms with Technology
Luckily for grandparents today, there are high-tech tools you can use to stay in touch daily with your little ones. Skype, Google Hangouts, LINE and other online tools allow you to talk in real-time and actually see your grandchildren face-to-face.
The only problem is that for our generation, downloading and running programs like these aren’t second nature. You may have to enlist a younger “digital native” to help you get set up. But this is a small challenge to overcome. Once you get into a regular routine of talking online, you can see your grandchildren often.
Photos and Videos
Provide your grandchildren with plenty of photos and videos of you. This is also very easy to do today with the tools available. When you have a visit, document everything. Make videos or photo books highlighting all of the fun things you did together. If your grandchildren have plenty of photos and video to remember you by, they’ll never forget all of the fun they had.
Harass Your Kids for Photos and Videos
Likewise, harass the parents into documenting everything the grandkids do. “Harass” might be too strong a word, but remember that in their busy lives, they may forget. Supplying grandparents overseas with pictures and videos is quick and easy. It just might take some nudging sometimes. Give your children a friendly reminder when you don’t see anything for a while. Sign up on a photo sharing or social media site where it’s easy for the parents to upload and easy for you to download.
Long-Distance Grandparenting Is No Big Deal
If your children are moving their families overseas, you might feel like you’re heart’s breaking in two. But here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Grandparenting presents challenges even if the kids live right down the street. It’s almost completely the same whether your grandkids are in the neighborhood or on the other side of the earth.
- These days, another country isn’t much further than cross country (although the time difference can be a serious pain!). If your kids lived in the furthest corner of your home country, it might be the same.
- Some grandparents never get to see their grandkids, and they live in the same town!
Finally, overseas grandparenting is a common thing these days. Many grandparents stay in steady communication with their kids and form the same strong, lasting bond with them, even when they’re oceans apart. Don’t worry; you can do it too.
Links to Resources Mentioned:
- Skype: an internet based service that allows you to call, message and share with others around the globe for free. It works on phones, desktop computers, and tablets. Requires both parties to have a Skype account for video calls.
- Google Hangouts: contains message, talk and video options for one or more people at a time. Requires both parties to have a Google+ account.
- LINE: Free instant messaging around the globe on all smartphone devices. Text, photo, video and voice messages connect you with family at a distance.