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Staying Close When Grandparents Are Far Away

Your kids may be seeing their grandparents this holiday season, but during the rest of the year it can be hard to stay in touch if they live on the other side of the country. Kids this age can clam up on the phone, making conversations disappointing. And some grandparents can be technophobes, making it hard to reach out electronically. Some easy ways to stay close, no matter what the distance:

  • Put the phone on speaker. It allows everyone in the room to take part in the conversation, so the talking will flow more naturally. You can also help your child avoid giving Grandma one-word answers (like when the inevitable "How's school?" question arises).
  • Snap away. Give him a disposable camera and have him take some pics of the everyday stuff his grandparents don't get to see -- his backpack, his best friend, even his bed -- and send them with a note explaining each one. They'll love seeing the little things they miss out on.
  • Get reading. One way to bond is to have a grandparent read a story to your child over the phone, especially if it was one of his favorites when he was a kid. And when your child is reading himself, it's a great way for him to show his skills off to Grandpa.
  • Log on. If Grandma and Grandpa do happen to be tech-savvy: Start a family website on (it's private). You can share photos and videos, and post regular updates.