Feeling a connection with your grandchildren normally comes naturally, but this bond can be challenged when miles separate you. Despite the long-distance, you do not have to be out of your grandchildren's lives because they do not live close to you. Travel and age may restrict one to seeing their grandchildren once or twice a year, but the rest of the time doesn't have to sit idle. Develop a special bond with your long-distance grandchildren by finding ways to spend one-on-one time with them. Technology can be a great tool in doing this. Make your grandchildren a part of your life daily.

Here are some suggestions on how to stay close despite the distance.

1. Pick up the phone - Most children love to talk on the telephone. Take initiative and pick up the phone to call them. Set a goal to talk to your grandchildren over a phone call at least once a week. Sometimes grandchildren may not be interested in talking. Avoid "yes-no" type questions. Be sure especially to talk to them on their birthdays and holidays.

2. Send mail and care packages - Children love receiving things in the mail. Birthday cards, care packages, cartoon clippings, and special treats can make a child feel loved and thought of. You might even inspire your grandchildren to send some mail back to you and become pen pals. Imagine saving the letters, cards, and pictures your grandchildren send you through the years and giving it all back to them when they are an adult. It would be a priceless treasure!

3. Get comfortable with social media - Social media websites like Facebook and Instagram can be great tools in connecting with your grandchildren. You can use different settings to create family pages and groups where everyone participating can share photos, videos, and messages. It is free and fairly easy to do. This is a great way to stay connected daily.

4. Video call - We live in a day where technology can close the distance gap. We can see each other face-to-face on our phones or computers. FaceTime, Skype or similar messaging services are a step above phone calls. You need a webcam, speakers (if you don't own built-in speakers) or a smartphone. It would be an excellent option if your grandchildren are younger and you want to establish a good start in helping them get familiar with who you are. This also allows you to feel like you have spent time together. You can sing songs, read books or even play a game in real time.

By embracing technology or even using snail mail, grandparents can play a major role in the lives of their grandchildren. Distance doesn't have to hurt a valuable grandparent-grandchild relationship. Despite the miles, it's possible to nurture a close bond. You can be a special family member to your grandchildren through providing unconditional love, passing along your family traditions, and sharing wisdom. Interactions with your grandchildren can also give you companionship, enjoyment, and love.

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