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
Enjoying these last sunny, dry, cool fall days before it quickly turns to #winter, by doing lots of #fallactivities and sharing our projects with #grandparents online.
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How are you spending these days as the season changes around us? We are collecting colorful leaves to make #nature #quilts, and #chestnuts and acorns for counting, making #pumpkin soup and #homemade roasted #pumpkinseeds, and #spiderwebs with friends from sticks and yarn. All practices that remind us of the coming winter and the upcoming day to recognize the end of this growing season- #Thanksgiving.

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#granddistanceparenting #grandchildren #kidscrafts #momblogger #longdistancefamily #fall #facetime
Starting from #Halloween to the celebration of the New Year, we are in full celebration mode in this house. Normally this period is stressful for us #multicultural parents and the molding of traditions to accommodate #longdistancefamily into our calls and traditions; but these past two weeks, when we have been here in a second #lockdown in #Belgium, and the fall vacation was extended for children, all this hoopla has been a welcomed distraction. 

***The kids have been busy making their #verlanglijstje for #deSint (Sint Nicolas that is;), of which the grandparents have been informed of through video calls and virtual lists. And watching #sinterklaasjournaal every night, and calling #Oma to ask her lots of questions about all these traditions.
While we are trying to curb the Sint-xiety - anxiety and excitement of the possibility of the #pieten swinging by our house to leave a small gift or candy or #pepernoten before the big day, it is also a welcomed reason to connect with #family. 

How are you prepping for these upcoming winter holidays? 
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#granddistanceparenting #grandparents #momblogger
"What can I get you to eat Grandma?", she asks her #grandmother politely, as if she was right there at our #teaparty. 

Even if you live far away from #family (or in these #COVID times are seeing them less often), that doesn't keep children from wanting to play with their #grandparents; and they can if you let them. Put them straight into the fun and games (virtually): set them a place at your table, a toy to play with, a hand of cards, whatever! Have fun!

#granddistanceparenting #longdistancefamily #grandchildren #playdoh #facetimeideas #facetime #virtualteaparty #grootouders #kleinkinderen
Bonding with #family isn't limited to in-person visits, or in these weird COVID times or when living far away from each other- video calls; this past month we have been exchanging little audio snippets of #fallsounds with our #grandparents! And letting the other ones guess what they are listening to. It has lead to lots of giggles and laughter on all sides! 
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And it all started while #grandma was #rakingtheleaves, and missing us of course:), and paused to make a recording of her #raking and asking us to guess what she was doing. We responded with #recordings we found of #migratinggeese, #fireplaces crackling, #rustlingleaves, and #rainstorms, and then we exchanged our guesses in the form of audio = little snippets of happiness that the grandparents can go back an listen to anytime they want! 
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#actionshot #fallactivities #grandpa #grandchildren #longdistancefamily #granddistanceparenting #fallfun #jumpingintoleaves #kidsactivity #hobbyfarm #soundarchive #autumn #momblogger #guessinggame
Keeping kids connected with #family from afar can be tricky, especially when there is a time difference! It is hard to catch each other when you have the same energy to connect; as when the #grandparents are just starting their days, we are just coming home from #school and winding down from a busy day. 
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But as the days get darker, colder and wetter (at least here in #Belgium) and we start doing more #fallactivities that are more often at home compared to the summer activities that kept us outside and on the go, I am quicker to take out my phone to make a video or picture to send to #grandma, or call up #grandpa on a whim while we are #coloring. #callinghome doesn't have to be formal or traditional it can be as simple as a quick 5 minute call for a #showandtell of the kids latest artwork, or for asking #Oma a question about how she traveled back and forth to school as a kid.
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This week we have been enjoying showing off our #glowinthedark #Halloween themed creations from @fimostaedtler #quickclay to family during our calls! Note this is not an ad we just really love this mess free clay that dries in 30 mins, for making lots of #ghouly #fallcrafts. ๐Ÿ‘ป ๐Ÿ˜ฑ ๐Ÿ‘ป how are you keeping busy this fall and sharing in the fun with #longdistancefamily?
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#granddistanceparenting #kidscrafts #halloweencraft w/ #fimoclay #ghost #grandchildren #facetime #skypewithgrandma #momblogger
A #virtualpumpkincarving party is one of our favorite #granddistanceparenting activities as it is interactive and fun, and everyone can partake - if your kids are too little to carve, they can draw the #jackolantern face or even paint the #pumpkin ๐ŸŽƒ. Sharing in the process creates memories and lots of conversation material! 
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#actionshot of me and my son carving in #Belgium with #grandma and #grandpa in #Minnesota, USA!
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#halloween #pumpkincarving #kidsactivity #grandchildren #grandparents #longdistancefamily #familytradition
Messy, but delightful afternoon of #pumpkincarving during our #virtualpumpkinparty with #grandma and #grandpa! It ended by exchanging #scaryfaces and making silly pictures. Hope the #jackolanterns last two weeks till #Halloween! Our hands are a little orange, but it really #smellslikefall now, with the leaves, the campfires and pumpkins! Did you carve a pumpkin together virtually with #family too? 
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#granddistanceparenting #longdistancefamily #today on #skype but also on #facetime or #whatsapp calling family! #familytradition #grandchildren #pumpkinguts #trickortreat
T minus two days ' til our favorite #virtualtradition of #pumpkincarving with #grandpa and #grandma! It is five years in the making and man is it fun and messy and #goofy! 
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Did you schedule your #virtual #carvingparty yet with your #longdistancefamily? You both need a pumpkin ๐ŸŽƒ, the regular carving tools, and a good setup for the call where you both see each other carving your #jackolantern. ๐ŸŽƒ ๐Ÿ‘ป ๐ŸŽƒ 
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#halloween #pumpkin #skypewithgrandma #facetime #family #granddistanceparenting #facetimewithfamily #momlife๐Ÿ’•
"Grandpa, let's do a piano battle!" Never thought we would be simultaneously #playinggames together during video chats, but #magictiles in particular is suitable for racing eachother through the same song which my seven year old loves and provides some decent songs to dance to for the little one. (NOTE: not all songs are appropriate for kids, so screen them before hand to evaluate the lyrics and if you want your children to play them.)
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Do you play #games together with your #grandparents during your chats? We would love some additional suggestions that may be suitable to play together during our chats, if you have suggestions send them our way?!;)
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#granddistanceparenting #pianoapp #grandchildren #facetime #skypewithfamily #grandpa #grandma #rainyday #braingame #longdistancefamily
How do you celebrate birthdays with your #longdistancefamily? 
๐ŸŽ‚ ๐Ÿฅณ ๐Ÿง๐ŸŽˆ 
Four virtual #birthdayparties in one day meant four creative #birthdaycakes and lots of singing and gifts and cards sent from abroad for our now little four year old. We started out with a tower of four #donuts for a #breakfast #birthday celebration with #Oma on #whatsapp, a cucpake for another set of #grandparents on #facetime, a pancake with sprinkles and a candle on #skype with #grandma and #grandpa and #auntie, and a pile of #poffertjes /mini crepes to end our afternoon with an #uncle on #Zoom. Lots of coordination and planning by me to ensure some creative cakes and organize calls resulted in a very happy #daughter and delighted #family! 
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Thanks for all the nice gifts and taking the time to make our not so little anymore ๐Ÿ˜ข girl spoiled with love and attention. She is loving her #magnatiles #jewelerybox and everything #unicorn. 
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#granddistanceparenting #virtualbirthday #momlife #momblogger #birthdaycrown #verjaardagsfeest #grandchildren
Dearest Grandparents,

You are the light of our world! Thank you for everything you do and all the love, patience and spoiling that you share and have for your #grandchildren. We know being a grand distance #grandparent is not easy, it isn't what you ever imagined life as a grandparent would be, but your efforts to connect with them are sincerely appreciated. And with every stage and new chapter you are their to support all of us. It is your strength and lessons that we as parents carry with us from you, that keep us going to nurture these amazing little humans- your #grandchildren. Missing you more than ever these days when we can't travel due to #covid, but know you are just a call away.

Happy #Grandparentsday!

#granddistanceparenting #longdistancefamily #reading #learningtoread #readingtograndma #facetime #bedtimestories #bookworm #practicemakesperfect #momlife #momblogger
"Hey #grandma, hey #grandpa check out our #appletree this year!"
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#Apple picking is a great fall tradition and especially with children, and even better when you can bring your #grandparents from halfway around the world through the #orchard with you on #videochat when they can't make it there themselves to see "our" tree Sin. They experienced it all, minus tasting the delicious #elstars of @fruitlambrecht. Looking forward to the next open picking (#zelfpluk) weekend in three weeks! 
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#granddistanceparenting #facetime #skypewithfamily #applepicking in #westvlaanderen #longdistance #grandchildren #kleinkinderen #parentingabroad
Ringing up the #grandparents anywhere at anytime is a normal everyday thing for us. Today we called them from our favorite #appleorchard & #grocer - #FruitLambrechtBaart in 
 #StElooisVijveย #Belgium; which they have been experiencing virtually for four years watching through #videochat as we pick #apples, delight at 'our' growing #appletree which we fondly named Sin, had our first taste of the sweet and juicey #Elstar, run up and down the rows of apple and #peer trees and #play on the retired #tractors. 

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As you can see our calls our not always focused on the kids and catching those smiles, but also the scenery, the #sky, the #ladybugs on the branches, the size of the apples, the #wheelbarrow, and everything we just wish they could touch, taste, smell and experience with us. And when its #applepicking season that means alot! This year combined with my friend (๐Ÿ“ท jasmina) who snapped this rare picture of me as #camerawoman of my #kids' #granddistanceparenting journey we took  100+ pictures and videos documenting our visit to forward on to #family.
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#longdistancephonecall #facetime #skypewithgrandma #westflanders #eatlocal #supportlocal #fallishere #momslife #lifeabroad
Will you join my #teaparty? Would you like an #icecream๐Ÿฆ? Can I make you a #coffee โ˜• or would you like #moojuice ๐Ÿฅ›? What kind of #eggs ๐Ÿณ would you like? What do you like on your #toast? Oh no I burned the #cheese...= 30 mins of #laughter and #play with a #toddler on a #videocall with #grandma and #grandpa. #Fun with the #grandparents can be facilitated #virtually in all sorts of ways. How are you engaging with your grandchildren? Or facilitating #onlineactivities for your children to interact with #familyfromafar?
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#granddistanceparenting #facetime #skypewithfamily #playkitchen #familymatters #kids
And we made it- the #firstdayofschool! ***
The confinement in the spring and a corona-proof summer with limited #travel was weird; we miss our #family and friends (as our social contacts are still limited here in #Belgium), and nothing feels normal these days but this, #school, the hustle and bustle of the morning routine this feels half normal. Thank you #teachers!
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Now off to send a bunch of pictures to all the #grandparents! 
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And just loving my son's @jeunepremierbags #jeunepremier #bookbag, how did they get so big??
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#granddistanceparenting #longdistancefamily #preschool #secondgrade #backtoschool
A phone call to #oma, while playing #mikado and keeping busy with #playdough= just like she is there at our table.
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#granddistanceparenting #longdistancefamily #grandma #grandchildren #skypewithgrandma #grandparents #facetime #playinggames #callinggrandma #family #familytime
#homesick 'cause #covidsucks and missing my #longdistancefamily but still having fun in #Belgium #wallonie / #ardennen with my #family & haven't been posting as have no words for this pain and my son's #tears. Hope you have figured out a better balance to this madness than me; just trying to focus on the positive,  but still sorely missing #family and struggling to find a balance with this #newreality. 
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#granddistanceparenting #momlife
#flowers #travelingwithkids ithkids #grandparents #grandchildren
It wasn't a typical #birthday, due to #corona measures we kept the celebration small and had a few #playdate parties instead of one big one. 
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We asked friends and #family to submit #birthdaygreetings in the form of pictures, videos and messages on a @kudoboard, which brought a huge smile to the face of our now #7yearold!! 
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We opened #presents and sang #happybirthday with family and friends throughout the day on @zoom_video_communications and @skype, which meant blowing out candles on some untraditional #cakes - from a #donut to a #pancake! 
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Had a #coronaproof #picnic in the park with a few others, and made crazy drawings on our front window to let everyone know about the big day.
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 Although, it all went well, the highlight really was a week later - our first trip out of #Belgium post corona border openings to the #theNetherlands to celebrate with #Oma and family (whom we had not seen since February). Nothing compares to the love between #grandparents and #grandchildren, not even the guilt of a #mother to ensure a birthday was the best it could be in #lifeinthetimeofcorona, no a hug from #grandma cures all woes. 
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#granddistanceparenting #longdistancefamily #grootouders #grandpa #skypewithgrandma #facetime  #momlife #son #motherhood