Tips and Tools for Long Distance bonding

This came from an article written about Grandparents keeping in touch with their grandchildren who live overseas.  But really, they are great tips for any relationship where distance is a factor.

Below is an excerpt.  Read the Full original article at

It’s not your fault.  You tried to raise them right.

And then those ornery kids of yours grew up, had little ones of their own and moved away.  What are they thinking?!  This was supposed to be your time.  You put in years of hard labor, thinking all along that some day, some glorious day you would enjoy all of the joys of frolicking, adorable children with none of the responsibility.  Sugar em’ up and send em’ home.  It was a flawless plan.

But now they live far, far away.

Don’t give up your dreams of being the best Memaw and Papaw ever just yet.  There is hope.

Even though there are plenty of things that distance makes impossible, you can still bridge that gap with a little bit of research and and a whole lot of intentionality.

Here are some tips and tools to help you get moving in the right direction.  Take what is useful but don’t be overwhelmed by the rest.

1.  Update Your Technology

I tread lightly here.

There is a new generation of Memaws and Papaws in the world.  You may very well already be fully digitized and up to date on the newest and latest technology.  Kudos to you.  Please don’t be insulted here.  However, don’t feel bad if you fit a more traditional stereotype.

Technology can be intimidating but it’s different than it used to be.  Today technology is so fast moving and competitive that it must be easy above all else to survive.  The result is mind-blowing resources that often cost you nothing and generally take a few mouse clicks to get running.  Don’t be too proud to get help if you need it but once you’re set up most tools are simple to use.

Start with this list 

  • Consider a Smart Phone – Lot’s of communication potential that is not possible on your old cell phone.
  • Upgrade – If your computer is more than 5 years old it is an antique.  Consider a new one or a tablet to ensure that new technology will run ok.
  • Get Skype (or FaceTime) – See your grandkids while you talk (think Jetsons).  Key word – FREE.
  • WhatsApp?  Send messages anytime without paying texting fees.
  • Facebook – Just in case this post reaches the last three people on earth who don’t have a Facebook account yet.  You should get one.

These are simple resources but not having them in place and running smoothly will mean deep frustration when all you really want to do is see your grandkids.

4.  Send a box

You cannot fathom the joy that fills an expat family’s home when a box arrives and Grandparent boxes are the best.  Here are some tips.

  • Consider Flat Rate Boxes:  If you are shipping from the US the US Postal Service offers a one rate box (in different sizes).  You pay one price no matter how much it weighs (there is a limit but you can still cram it full).  Other countries may offer this service as well.
  • Fill up the empty spaces:  If you’re going flat rate you don’t pay for weight.  Empty space is wasted space.  Also the more space there is in the box, the more likely things are to shift and get damaged during shipping.  Pack it tight and fill those spaces with goodies and treats (you may want to get permission from Mom and Dad first depending on the goodies and treats).
  • Don’t send breakable things:  Rule of thumb — If it CAN break it WILL break.
  • Don’t send liquid:  Same basic idea only liquid ruins everything else in the box.
  • Send things they can’t get:  There is nothing more exciting than a box of cereal when you live in a country where cereal doesn’t exist.  Find out what is hard to find and send it.
  • Include something for everyone:  No one likes to get left out
  • Make it personal:  Always include a note or a picture.  As great as the stuff is, they really miss YOU.
  • Be Grandma and Grandpa:  Remember your plan?  Sugar em’ up.  All kids need socks and underwear but that’s not your problem.

Shipping internationally is not cheap but trust me you are investing in HUGE relationship points when you send a box.

Read the Full original article at

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