Grand-Parenting in the Digital Age
How do you maintain a loving and involved relationship with your grandchildren if they live far away from you, or during these strange times of social isolation when you may not get those visits from your grandkids? Here are some tips:
Tap into the New Technology of Video Calls
You may be used to calling your loved ones on the telephone and having them visit. Maybe you even used to look after them after school while their parents were at work. But, in the current times of social distancing and quarantine, you may not be able to see them face-to-face and hug them as you may want. So, if you haven’t already done so, it’s about time to cross the technology barrier and start video calling.
If you’re not the most technology-savvy, reach out to someone and ask them to explain video-calling to you, step-by-step. With most platforms, there are actually only very few and very easy steps that you have to learn. Video calls help families blend into each other’s routines easily, without seeming like they are intruding. Even toddlers take to video calls quite naturally and are more curious than they are on just phone calls. Video calls are an everyday thing for your older grandchildren now, so get them to show you how, and that in itself can become a bonding process for both of you.
Harness the Magic of Pictures on Social Media
Capture moments from your everyday lives; your daily routine, trying something new, memories from the time your grandkids were able to visit you and tons of other things. Photographs – or pics as they are now known – freeze those great family and fun moments. They are the easiest out of all the digital-age technologies that you can use to stay close to your grandkids.
Post those pics on your social media accounts. In other words, use Facebook liberally, and, if you can handle it, get into the social media the younger crowd use as well such as Instagram.
Your picture memories will prove to be a wonderful time capsule that you and your grandkids can go back to again and again.
Text and Message as Often as You Can
Have you ever tried to telephone an adolescent or young adult on a landline? Many won’t know what a landline is, and even getting them to answer on a mobile can be a challenge. They live in the land of texts and messaging for mundane communication, and social media for more in-depth or emotional discussion. Don’t stop telephone calling and video-calling if your grandkids are responding, but otherwise get used to it and get on the bandwagon for regular texting and messaging to connect with your grandkids.
Keep the Old Ways Alive
Even if you are in different countries and different cities and have to depend on virtual means to stay in touch with your family, you can go back to your old ways now and then. It is great to send letters regularly to your grandkids. They are much more customisable and individualistic, with handwriting instead of text. The beauty of receiving a handmade card or a letter in their grandparents’ affectionate handwriting will etch your memory in your grandkid’s heart forever.
Open your Mind to Close the Generation Gap
Your grandchildren have grown in a technologically savvy, much more liberal age than you have. Don’t expect them to change or slow down for you. If you want to be part of their lives, you are going to have to use the same communication methods they use and adopt their technologies. The good news is that the new technologies are getting easier by the day and they can be great fun!