Grand Parenting from a Distance

A platform that explores the ways in which connection can be fostered from a grand distance. Weekly tips and an online discussion group where we discuss building and maintaining quality connections with children from afar.
GRAND DISTANCE PARENTING
Are you chasing your kids around the house during calls with the #grandparents
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Kids are active beings and it is normal they can't or don't want to sit down and have a traditional conversation. Of course it is fine to follow them around, but sometimes that can make the caller on the other end seasick! And there is nothing wrong with modeling and teaching your child to facilitate conversations with loved ones and take time for others.
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Three tips for welcoming them into your #facetime in a fun way and getting them to stay in camera a little longer during your calls: 
1- #snacks! 🍌🥨🥟🧃;
2- an activity- #coloring, Legos, #painting, playing with a small #toy in front of the camera with no expectation for them to engage in conservation but focus on having them present and attempting to facilitate a conversation about their toys or #artwork;
3- get a big #box and have them sit in it, add snacks, and a marker to #draw on the box or cars or books. 
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Happy chatting!

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#granddistanceparenting #longdistancefamily #grandma #grandpa #skypewithgrandma #momblogger #expatfamily #expat #grootouders #kleinkinderen
Connection between grandchildren and grandparents who you don't get to see often enough, maybe isn't always how we thought it would be, but it is still delightful. 
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Who are you calling this weekend? What will the kids read to them? 

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#granddistanceparenting #longdistancefamily #facetime #reading #readingwithgrandma
#learningtoread #books #oma #grandma #grandparents
#grandchildren #grootouders #pigtails #momblogger #childrensdesk
#grandpa #multilingualkids #multilingualparenting #multilingualfamily #multilingualism 

The adorable sweater she is living in this very #rainy #spring in #Belgium-  @zeeman_nederlands
Counting together...😍🥰❤

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#granddistanceparenting #grandparents #grandma #mothersday #grootouders #longdistancefamily #mathsactivities #learningtocount #facetime #moederdag #teapot
How are you connecting with family this weekend? 
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Set-up a #nailsalon for 30 minutes of fun! 
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#granddistanceparenting #grandparents #grandchildren #grootouders #longdistancefamily #facetime #skypewithgrandma #nailsofinstagram #nailpolish #girlmom #family #nailpolish #paintingnails
What do you miss most about #longdistancefamily? 
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We miss the everyday: simple things- sharing a morning cuddle, a meal together, a walk in the park, #bedtimestories...
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They last time we read a #book (in-person) with our #grandparents in the USA was over a year and a half ago, and witj #Oma in The Netherlands last summer! Our hearts are #homesick for them. ❤
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#granddistanceparenting #grootouders #learningtocount #grandchildren #kleinkinderen #family #absencemakestheheartgrowfonder
Wishing you and yours a weekend filled with connection! Despite the distance there may be between us, you can always ring up #grandpa and show him a 🍀 or share with #grandma reports on whatever you did today. Who are you calling this weekend?
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#granddistanceparenting #longdistancefamily #facetime #grandparents #grandchildren #grootouders #clover #family
Do you exchange #snailmail with your family? 
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Grandpa has been sending us #postcards for as long as we can remember! The kids love getting them and the little notes from #family.  Any ideas on how we can display them? We currently put them on the fridge and a shelve on the wall, and replace them with the new ones. Now we have an entire shoe box filled with them!
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#granddistanceparenting #longdistancefamily #grandchildren #grandparents #grandpa #grootouders #post #lettersfromgrandpa #travelbug #postcardlove
How are you connecting with family to celebrate Spring? or Easter or Passover or whichever holiday or season you may be celebrating?
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Dying eggs is a great way tradition to celebrate Spring. My kiddos got a little creative during the egg dying and put the nets meant for the eggs on their heads, which made for great laughs! Check out stories for the results!
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#granddistanceparenting #grandparents #grandchildren #easter #eastereggs #naturaleggdye #facetime #spring #momblogger #longdistancefamily
Five things to do together online with children to celebrate the holidays related to Spring:

1. Make bunny hats together.  Simultaneously make a cylinder shape that serves as your crown and cut out #bunnyears which can also be colored. Afix the ears to the crown and exchange bunny faces and challenge each other to do a #bunnyhop.
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2. Make a simple paper basket or woven #Easterbasket and each collect whatever trinkets you can find throughout the house and give a #showandtell. Best if done with your bunny hats, as a bunny collecting treats and if parents plan ahead you can make an official virtual #egghunt together in your bunny hats, with your baskets.
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3. Dye easter eggs together. You don't need anything more than the skins of yellow onions, vinegar, water, white eggs and some netting and nylon tights to wrap the eggs in the skins. Boil the eggs for 30 mins and let them sit for up to two hours =richly ruby colored natural dye kid safe #eastereggs. See our post tomorrow for the results of our egg dying call! 
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4. Take turns to describe things pictionary style or with sounds related to the changing season. Scrunch your nose to be a #bunny,  describe a budding tree or flower, the sounds of the first #bees or mosquitoes. 
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5. #Sing songs together about little bunny Foofoo and nursey rhymes that remind you of Spring. 
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#granddistanceparenting #longdistancefamily #grandchildren #grandparents #zoomcall #virtualegghunt #easter #easteractivities #facetime
How are you navigating this start of a second year with COVID and being far away from #family? 
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Are you like me- trying to remind yourself to keep your head up these days?, despite whatever is going on around you? to keeping looking to the stars, keep climbing that #tree? Trying to find the silverlining?
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As #Belgium enters our third #lockdown (third time in a year #schools are closed in an attempt to reduce the spread of #COVID), let's be more understanding than usual, make exceptions more often(=eat more ice cream), go easy on ourselves and our children, call the #grandparents whenever we can and reach out to each other more often despite the physical or social distances we have between us. 
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Take time to replenish ourselves to have #willpower and strength, to ensure our resilience and creativity and be there for our (grand)children as we navigate this #thirdwave. Be thankful for what we have. 
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#granddistanceparenting #longdistancefamily #treeclimbing #grandchildren
How do you integrate your family into play during calls?
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Put them in the center of the fun? Make them part of the story? Ensure a good view to ask questions? 
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#granddistanceparenting #longdistancefamily #facetime #kapla #playtime #grandparents #grandchildren #skypewithgrandma
Which games do you play online together with your #family? 
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Thinking about how we are going to stay busy during this rainy weekend!
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Playing virtual #twister on a #quilt #grandma made, where the #grandparents call out colors and the hands and feet rotate, always leads to good laughs at our house. We also started playing #mariokart online together, which was a great way to connect in a different way from a traditional call. 
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#granddistanceparenting #longdistancefamily #grandchildren #facetime #virtualgame #momblogger #activitieswithkids
Reading to grandpa. 
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You don't need a special app to read together virtually, just a book, a phone and some enthusiasm and patience on both sides to enjoy a book together. So what do I do when my #grandchildren are reading to me during a virtual call?:

1. Just listen, you don't have to say anything. Nodding your head in affirmation is great!
2. As they pause, ask them to show you the pictures, or ask them a question about what they read to support their #readingcomprehension.
3. Cheer them on with #positiveaffirmations. Don't say no after their mistakes, ask them to try sounding out words again if they are incorrect. Or let the #parents who are there do the correcting of words. Keep your role as the #activelistener, unless they directly ask for your help. This may not feel natural to you as you want to help them, but wait to play that role until you are in-person.
4. What if they are #reading in a language you don't understand? Let them read the #book they would like regardless of the language and ask them to translate or summarize it for you. Be honored that they want to invite you into their world. Supporting reading in any language, supports the same skills in other languages. That language is part of their identity, even if might not be yours, so your positive support of reading and speaking in any language is great for children! 
5. Make it reciprocal! Have some #books available for you to read to them too! Reading together is a great way to facilitate connection, despite the distance. 
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#multilingual #longdistancefamily #grandpa #grandma #facetime #readingwithkids #readingwithgrandma #granddistanceparenting #bedtimestory #tipsandtricks #thirdculturekid
Do you read virtually with your family? How do you read together? 
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We have tired calling the #grandparents to read them a book, had #grandma read a book to us, recorded the kids #reading a #book so #grandpa could listen in after work! But we would love to hear your ideas about how you integrate reading into your #granddistanceparenting routines. 
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#grandchildren #learningtoread #readingwithkids #facetime #longdistancefamily #virtualbookreading
Missing sitting on grandma's lap, big time? Three things you can do on your next call to facilitate immediate connection despite the distance:

1- start your call by singing a song for the #grandparents! #doreime is a current favorite here.
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2- Show off your latest trick to #grandpa. Current favorites here are #somersaults, #headstands and simple #magictricks. 
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3- Read together! If your kids are of the reading age have them read a book or chapter to the #grandma of their favorite book, which will inspire conversation about the book. If they are not yet able to #read, have the caller read a short book to them or show them things in their house.
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#granddistanceparenting #longdistancefamily #grandchildren #kleinkinderen #grootouders #callinghome #facetime #skypewithgrandma #readingwithgrandma #bedtimestory #tipsandtricks #soundofmusic #singing
Despite all the pictures and videos one can send #family to keep them updated on what the kids are up to, they just don't do justice to your day. We need words! But due to time differences and busy lives you can't always catch them live to give them a full report of your daily #adventures and the kids already forget in the morning how it was to walk through the forest early in the morning on a snowy day with the cold air on your cheeks. Start sending #fivesenses audio clips! What can you do?:

1- Ask the kids to reflect on their day by sharing things about the five senses. What was something you heard today? Your favorite thing you tasted, something you smelled (be prepared for bad fart jokes from your seven year old), something you felt with your hands, and what did you see? But also how did it make you feel? Did it make you think of anything? (This is also a great way to ask kids about their school day, instead of what did you do today, what did you smell, taste, feel, etc)

2 - Record it through the messaging app you share with the #grandparents and send it off!

3- Let them listen to it and ask if they want to add anything.

4- Then ask the grandparents to respond via audio to the report and do the same- send a report on the five senses about their day. 

=great way to connect! And audio you can keep coming back to enjoy each other's stories and feel involved in the day-to-day of each other's lives, despite distance or not being able to see one another.
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We have doing this with #grandma and #grandpa on and off for the past weeks with great success! 
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This picture is from a beautiful walk during the winter break when we stayed in house near #Odeigne in the #Ardennes. And was great material for talking about how the snow was falling, how our toes got cold on the walk, how we enjoyed a snowy picnic and got lost on the clearly marked trails!! 
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#granddistanceparenting #longdistancefamily #grootouders #audioclips #snow #ardennen #hiking #forest #momblogger #activitieswithkids  #grandchildren #callinghome
Are your children missing their #grandparents as much as we are? It leaves a whole in our heart the longing for their attention and love. We just want to wake up in their homes and cuddle and play games and laugh together. All those little things we took for granted, well some of them can be done online together! Here are three games you can play #acrossthewires with kids:

1- #battleship yep you don't even need a board you can both print them out (search for battleship board) draw your ships and start playing! 

2- #yahtzee. One player needs to keep score and you both need the dice, take turns rolling and help each other count up the dice and find four of kinds, etc... 

3 #pictionary or #parcheezi one person (e.g. mom with the kids calling #family) acts as the game master with the set of objects or answers showing the words to the person who has act or draw them out and not letting the others see. Then you take turns drawing and guessing. This one always leads to laughter and is suitable for kids 2 and up!

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This picture is from the last time we saw #oma from July 2020. 😪

#granddistanceparenting #grandma #grandpa #grandchildren #boardgames #longdistancefamily #momblogger #activitieswithkids #gameswithkids #kleinkinderen #skypewithgrandma #facetime
Tips for video calls with kids that go mute or freeze when you start a video chat.
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Note I don't mean run away. If they run away and hide, give them space and just keeping talking to the caller. And then try again later. I mean you have a #chatty Cathy who is playing nicely and it seems like a good time to call #grandma. Then you call the #grandparents and turn the camera on them and they freeze! My #daughter and #son have both had periods of this and both around age four. So, what do you do?!?!
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1 - Start an activity that doesn't rely on the child talking or even engaging. This includes bringing some markers or #crayons to the table to color, or scissors for a cutting project. Set some #Lego in front of them or #playdoh. This allows them to get comfortable and focus on something other than the call.
2 - Ask the caller to keep talking, first with you as the adult or another child that may be present. Then to start asking the child who froze questions about what they are doing. 
3 - If the child still doesn't want to talk, ask them to show #grandpa their art work or what they cut up. This is a huge achievement if they engage in this way! Comment positively on their #artwork or whatever they showed you.
4 - still not saying anything? Do something silly! Do a #dance, sing a song, put on a hat or something to get their attention and ask them what they think.
5 - Ask them if they would like you to read them a #book, or show them something in your home, turning the focus away from them. 
6 - Ask them if they would like to talk to the #family #pet instead of you today. 

Through all these steps, stay calm, don't force the child to speak until they feel comfortable. Try to avoid getting angry or showing disappointment, it is completely normal to feel sad as you really want to engage, but focus on having positive calls. 
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#granddistanceparenting #oma #grandchildren #longdistancefamily #facetime #videocalltips #toddlerlife
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