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Thread: Grandparenting from a distance - advice needed please

  1. #1
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Grandparenting from a distance - advice needed please

    Dear friends visited family about 9 hours away to see their grandchildren of toddler age who are their only grandchildren. The other set of grandparents live nearby and see these children regularly. Unfortunately the little ones stayed with the familiar grandparents and avoided the grandparents visiting from so far away. It was painful to drive all that distance and experience rejection from the children for the long Thanksgiving weekend seeing the wonderful easy relationship that the other grandparents are enjoying.

    Any advice for these grandparents to build the relationship with grandchildren from a distance? This is not an unusual situation.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  2. #2
    Senior Member Simplemind's Avatar
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    I think they deserve some time to bond with the grandkids in a setting that doesn't involve a holiday with other relatives. Perhaps they could arrange a visit in advance with that expectation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simplemind View Post
    I think they deserve some time to bond with the grandkids in a setting that doesn't involve a holiday with other relatives. Perhaps they could arrange a visit in advance with that expectation.
    I think that is a really good idea, Simplemind. It would be good for the parents to be sensitive to this and help to arrange some equal time--maybe they could take the children to go see the grandparents!

  4. #4
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    We happen to be the grandparents which are closest, which helps some because we get exposure to the kids through emergency babysitting or spur-of-the-moment event opportunities. Quantity sometimes trumps quality.

    It occurs to me that there's some information missing here, though. I'm assuming (though the post does not say) that your friends notified their kid/partner-in-law that they were coming? Were the nearer grandparents and toddlers on a special trip (show, museum, whatever) and unable to accommodate the other grandparents? Are all the grandparents on good terms with each other? And your friends with their kid/partner-in-law? If the trip was announced, where were the grandchildrens' parents for brokering access and time? As the "closer" grandparents, if we learned that one of the outlying grandparents was in town unexpectedly, we certainly would invite them to some time with the grands, even if it was joining us for whatever we already had planned for the kids and whether the parents had been contacted/aware or not. But that's us.

    If none of these fit, the best I can suggest is tools like Apple Facetime/Skype or at least phone calls so you can at least have some tech-enabled direct contact with the grandchildren. Maybe some small gifts sent via mail or bundled up and sent to the parents to distribute at times, so Grandpa and Grandma X's names come up with some frequency. Try to play with those toys when you see the grandchildren in person (yeah, I know association like that is vague at that age, but kids soak up more than we think). Send some pictures of Grandma and Grandpa so the kids remember what they look like, ideally showing them doing something with the grandkids. I'm sure others will have some ideas, too.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  5. #5
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    They try to visit twice a year but need to work around holidays that the family has free. It is hard to arrange much with very young toddlers around 1 and 3 years of age.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  6. #6
    Moderator Float On's Avatar
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    I wish the boys grandmother who is the long distance away would of spent time calling them when they were little. Lots of cards and photos (other than holidays with a "love gmother, here's a check") and personal questions would of helped too. They just never got to know her that well. She spent the early years saying "I don't know them or know what to say to them". I really think it takes more effort on the part of the grandparents further away than the grandparents who are closer. So I'd suggest start sending cards and photos of yourself, making calls on a weekly basis even if all you hear on the other end is "ga ga". Let your presence be known.
    Float On: My "Happy Place" is on my little kayak in the coves of Table Rock Lake.

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    Razz, I meant that the grandparents should receive a visit from the family--the parents of the grandchildren should take them to visit their grandparents.

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    Face time!

    when my nieces were little my brother used it to buy time to shower - “ok, you guys sit here and talk to grammie” (my mom was supposed to use the phone to alert him if the little one left the screen and the big one didn’t bring her back.)

  9. #9
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    If this was a planned visit the parents should have kept the kids home to see their grandparents. Really rude of the parents for what they did.

  10. #10
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    The grandparents who live close should stay away for most of the time when the others grandparents visit. Give them alone time.

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