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
How do you celebrate birthdays with your #longdistancefamily? 
🎂 🥳 🧁🎈 
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 😢 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 
 #StElooisVijve #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 (📷 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 #icecream🍦? Can I make you a #coffee ☕ or would you like #moojuice 🥛? What kind of #eggs 🍳 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
"Hey #grandma, come sit with me in the chair. Check out the #tiedye shirt I made at #school. We made it by doing..." ***
Regular chats with your #grandchildren are important for facilitating connection. #longdistance chats may be a little different than the real thing, but you can still "sit" together. So pull up a chair #grandparents, and ask your #grandchild to bring you with them and just chill. Enjoy!
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#granddistanceparenting #longdistancefamily #WhatsApp #facetime #skypewithgrandma whatever you use just #callhome #rockingchair #summertime #lazydays
Happy, relieved, exhausted, overwhelmed,  sad, and tired are how I would describe how I feel as a #parent, now that my children are back for the last three weeks of school full time in #Belgium! ***
This period of isolation, #lifeinthetimeofcorona, has been intense having two kids under 6 at home and keeping up with #homeschooling and our jobs that are both full-time. I am delighted that they are both back in school and #chalkboard #writing can remain a school activity! And I can go back to just being a #mom, instead of a full time support teacher (as the #teachers did the real work!) of #math, #spelling, writing, science, gym and keeping our sanity together without the usual activities we use to distract us such as #playgrounds or #libraries. I am, we are, also really missing family, following this period of isolation. Our annual trip to the USA to visit my family was canceled due to #covid19 policies restricting flights, and the thought of not knowing when we can fly back to hug our #grandmas and play with our #grandpas is frankly kinda devastating. It is these visits that fill us up on love and attention; give us #granddistanceparenting parents a break from the intense and full on zero help from #family as we live faraway insanity that demands us to be on our #bestgame all the time, for fear of crumbling, that we call our life; but our visits let us refill our cups in many ways. And I will be missing that recharge I count on every summer.
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How are you experiencing this return to school, the change of summer plans to visit family "back home", and the new rhythms of these new phases of reopening? ***
#longdistancefamily
Sledding with #grandpa! ***
Who would have thought I would be digging through the winter clothes come #summer and reconstructing a #winterscene of early #antarctic #explorers for my #sevenyearold #futurefilmmaker 's #antarcticadventure; nor that an #indoorwinterland with a #sled and fake #snow would be so fun in #June, and especially for showing off to the #grandparents! ***
#granddistanceparenting #longdistancefamily #facetime #kidsactivities #grandmasquilt #christmasinjuly came early...
Nothing like a #spaceflight to start a conversation with #familyfromafar. Are you watching the @nasa @spacex #dragonflight, too? 🚀🛰🌠
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We are in our #spacesuits (thanks #Oma), rewatched the #launchamerica #launch 5 times this morning!!, exchanging messages with friends and #family about how cool it all is!, and making a #spacehelmet from cardboard as we watch the #nasalivestream, and skim through our fav #space #books - #curiosity @markus_motum & het grote #boek van de #ruimte @dominicwalliman @benjinewman. ***
#granddistanceparenting
We are so happy here, as in #Belgium the playgrounds have reopened  Even had to ring up the #grandparents to share in all fun, as I chased these two around the playground. ***
Lots of hand washing pre- and post- playing, and keeping our distance from others of course. #granddistanceparenting takes on a new meaning now of keeping my distance from other parents, but for good reason. ***
#lifeinthetimeofcorona #grandchildren #playground #climbing #playtime
One more day sweetheart and your ten long weeks of longing will end, as (some) #playgrounds open again in #Belgium. The longing for going down that slide, climbing, swinging; but also for things we took as normal- going to the #library, #grocery store, #gymnastics, #school, is coming to an end (albeit likely temporary). ***
We were isolating for a good reason, and continue to keep our #socialdistance and wear our #masks to protect eachother to reduce the spread of the #virus as things start opening up again. This period was intense for everyone in their own ways- the healthcare workers taking care of our most vulnerable, #teachers prepping for new ways of learning and teaching, single people dealing with loneliness and boredom, and #families finding new ways to function without school, sports and all the normal activities we partake in outside of the home. We have all  experienced something unprecedented (and still are of course as this is not over). Being a #parent to #littleones during this #coronacrisis hasn't been easy, especially when we couldn't give them much certainty nor frankly still can. But we are managing and I am ever more grateful for my #longdistancefamily but also my #friends near and far that send messages and pictures. It's the longing that hurts, but we are finding #bandaids to mend our tears and fears. 
#granddistanceparenting
21 questions, guess what's on my head, any guessing game will work for encouraging interaction between #children and #family from afar in a #virtualcall. Since it was #bathtime and the #school theme is water, our #guessinggame with #grandma focused on #aquaticanimals. ***
Which #games do you play with your #grandparents during your #callshome? Has anyone tried #battleship? We have also had success with #yahtzee and #pictionary. ***
#granddistanceparenting #grandchildren #giveajingle via #facetime #skype #zoomcall whatever you use to connect with #longdistancefamily #grootouders #oma
"Look at our ducklings #grandma and #grandpa!", says my son with joy as we show off the two broods of #ducklings that inhabit our local park as onlookers stare at us as we casually talk to the #grandparents as if they were right there on the bench with us. And why the heck not?! We bring our #longdistancefamily with us every where- they have been on #bikerides with us, at #school performances, #rugby tournaments, #picnics and so on. They are only a phone call away in our minds; although the majority of them live an ocean away and the other side of the #family in a neighboring country, they are part of our lives just as much.
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How do you bring your family into your children's life despite living #faraway from each other? Or if you are a grandparent, how do you engage with your #grandchildren virtually? *** Also can you spot how many ducklings there are at #parkdevijvers? HINT: There is a brood in the water and another #sunbathing.
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#granddistanceparenting #facetime #skypd #whatsapp whatever #callhome #grootouders #lifeinthetimeofcorona
Just a normal #sunnymorning here- cleaning our #scooters, eating hard-boiled #eggs, while enjoying the warm #morningsun with Oma on the #frontsteps. Yep, that's #Oma there in the corner, on the phone. ***
Reimagine your first #coffee of the day or the first #kidsactivity you do by integrating #grandparents into your everyday life. ***
#granddistanceparenting #longdistancefamily #WhatsApp
#facetime #skype whatever call #grandma #grandpa #grootouders!! #lifeinthetimeofcorona
#stadgent #urbanliving #sidewalkstories

And we are loving our #microstep, btw.:P