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.
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.
2- Show off your latest trick to #grandpa. Current favorites here are #somersaults, #headstands and simple #magictricks. 
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.
#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.
We have doing this with #grandma and #grandpa on and off for the past weeks with great success! 
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!! 
#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!

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.
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?!?!
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. 
#granddistanceparenting #oma #grandchildren #longdistancefamily #facetime #videocalltips #toddlerlife
An important role that grandparents play in a child's life is that of a #teacher. Children can learn from #grandparents in many different ways and some of those ways can be facilitated virtually. One of these ways is supporting with #homework. Yes homework from afar!
Five #tips for integrating #family virtually into learning #school tasks and homework: 
Does your child have a list of weekly #spellingwords? 
1- Make a #GIFgame out of spelling. Have the child send GIFs via a messenger app of each of the words and have the grandparents guess what they are by making a list of answers. Let the child review the list and correct the spelling words and spell them out aloud to the grandparents while total their scores. 
2- Have grandparents read out or if applicable act out the spelling words while the child writes them down to practice.
Is your child learning to or able to read books aloud?
3- Practice #reading aloud to the grandparent's pets! Of course the grandparents can listen in too, but kids of all ages love reading #bedtimestories to the family #dog or #cat. This can be a chapter book that an older child is reading or a picture book for a younger child that can just tell a story. 
4- Let your child pretend they are making a show or #vlog for the their followers;) (#grandma and #grandpa) and ask them to read and act a #book that you record. 
Is your child learning about addition and subtraction and thus money? 
5- set up a virtual shop to practice #math! Let the children setup a shop with items and bring the device where the #uncle and #aunts are to the shop to select some items. Ask the child to add up the total and the caller to tell the child how much money they will give for the purchase. And have them ask for change. 
#granddistanceparenting #longdistancefamily #grandchildren #homeschooling #socialdistancing #thuisonderwijs #facetime #skypewithgrandma
Hello?!? Hello?!? Where are you?
How often does this happen to you during video calls with kids? You are "sitting" next them, you are chatting, they are #playing and they disappear from your view. You are staring at a #stilllife of the #family room or #play room, patiently waiting for them to return but also feeling frustrated you can't get them back to you. You call their name, you ask where are you? You can hear something in the background, you feel sad and reminded of how you are limited in how you can interact, confronted with #longdistance - the feeling of how you want be there, but you want them to be with you, but you know they are happy and safe, you want to be together, you tear up. 
Moments later...Your #granddaughter, #niece, cousin, whomever you are chatting with runs back in view and shouts with delight that you are there. Hello #grandma she shrieks with delight! Look what I got to show you?! Whew, you feel relieved, she is back, she is interacting with you, she was thinking about you and went to find something to show you. Look at that smile. She tells you a story, you laugh together. You say goodbye. 
This is normal, this is the ups and downs of #granddistanceparenting. It is not easy, it is annoying sometimes. But you will get used to it, you will find the #silverlining, you will find new ways of interacting, you will laugh, and love and be surprised that love really knows no distance. Just keep trying.
#grandparents #grandchildren #grandpa #grootouders #facetime #videochatwithfamily #longdistancefamily #momblogger #toys #frozen #skypewithgrandma
Happy new year! 
With ❤ from the #Belgian #Ardennes 
#granddistanceparenting #longdistancefamily #momblogger #snow #sneeuw #ardennen
#ardennesbelges #belgium #snowscene #sledding #grandchildren
Lighting some candles on this last day 2020. What are you doing today to let go of 2020 and welcome and prepare for 2021?
Being far away from family has hit us big time this year. The most painful part of this #longdistance has been the loss of two very dear people in our family - my #grandfather and a great #uncle, and the limitations on travel due to #COVID. 
Given we were not able to travel to the #US this year (without extensive #quarantining, unnecessary exposure to ourselves and others, etc), we have not been able to properly #grieve this loss with family. This has certainly stagnanted my #grief. Despite consciously knowing they are no longer with us, I feel a need to walk the streets they roamed or spaces we shared in order to really start the #grieving process and #mourn with my family. 
So we #lightacandle, we share stories with family virtually, we go on long walks searching for #solace, but our hearts are broken 💔 and the distance hurts more than normal. But we will find a place for this and peace with this in time. And feel hopeful for 2021. Wishing you and yours peace, good health and happiness this last day of 2020.
#granddistanceparenting #grandparents #grandchildren #longdistancefamily #newyear #momblogger #verliesvaneendierbare  #inrouw #goodbye2020
Did you just become a new #grandparent to a #grandchild that lives far away from you? Or are you a new parent worried about how your child is going to develop a connection with family despite that you live far away from them and only see them once or twice a year? Get started here 👋👇
1. Write down for yourself what matters to you in regards to being able to connect with family. For example is it sharing in experiences, is it sharing traditions,  is it laughing together? etc... share this with each other. You as the grandparent need to express this to the #parents, and visa versa the expectation and desire to facilitate connection goes both ways. It is ok to cry and mourn that some of these things on your list will not be exactly how you envisioned. 
2. Make a plan with family about:
- how you will chat: e.g. an expectation may be that you want to share meals together, talk about how you can be involved in cooking with the kids and setting a place for the family member at the table; 
- when you will chat & how often; is there a particular time of day that works best for both sides? Usually the earlier in the day the better for young children, but as they get older from around 7 years old and up catching them before bedtime may be a great time to have a traditional chat, can you share a family calendar to help to keep each other in the loop about school or day care schedules, or sports events, etc..?
- discuss & download together which app or software you will use to connect. Getting an app on your smart phone is recommended so that you can be reached whenever you are, instead of say on a tablet or computer. We use lots of different apps pending who we are connecting with. Check out @whatsapp and #facetime but also @skype for group chats, and even @zoom! Of if someone is most reachable through social media try @facebookmessenger_ or @googlehangouts. Throughout the day we send pictures, videos and audio via #threema as its amoung the most secure.
- finally discuss ideas for what you can do together. Share ideas with each other, try it out! 
more suggestions in the comments! 👇
Hope you are all having a nice holiday season. Just a quick #shoutout to say thank you to all the #grandparents, uncles, aunts, #family and friends and #longdistancefamily that let all of us virtually join in on all of your #Christmas celebrations by unpacking presents together, laughing at the reactions from the kids, sharing simultaneously a first #cupofcoffee and a toast with an #aperitief if there is a time difference, or just because.
Your generousity with your time and love makes this #granddistanceparenting thing a little easier for us #parents. Being able to call you at the drop of a hat made this weird #socialdistancedchristmas- without the end of the year parties, and celebrations, a little sweeter! 
Grandparents, we know it wasn't what you were dreaming of- being far away or separated from you #grandchildren, but you are doing awesome! And even if you have to hold back tears of sadness sometimes, know your efforts make all the difference as these little people know and love you! ❤ 
#facetime #virtualchristmas #skype #nintentdoswitch #grandma #grandpa #momblogger
Happy holidays and merry christmas! Who are you connecting with this holiday season?
We are #stayingathome but still connected with family across the world! And missing being with family and in the #snow! 
#longdistancefamily #Christmas #covidchristmas #facetime #skype #grandparents #grandchildren #grandma #grandpa #momblogger #virtualchristmas
Do you have a time planned yet to chat with #family over the holidays? Some tips for your #socialdistancedchristmas call with small children:
1. Call when the kids have patience and energy to talk. Usually the earlier in the day the better. Or after a nap if the children are still napping (or even for grandpa). They don't call the #witchinghour (s) - the hours before bedtime, witching for nothing and that is not usually a great time to chat with young children. Finding a good time can be tricky especially if there is a big #timedifference between you. Figure out what works for the kids and adjust your schedule as an adult, if you can.
2. Plan an activity or something to do during the call- color a picture together,  show off #ornaments, mold a clay #christmastree together, make #papersnowflakes and compare results, frost #cookies, open presents together, etc..
3. Emphasize the quality of the interaction, not the length. If the kids don't want to sit down and talk, put the device on the floor while the kids are playing qnd talk to them. A successful call with #longdistancefamily is not like a phone call where you run down what you did during the day, but where you fall into the madness of whatever you called into. If it doesn't work out, don't fret, call again tomorrow and try again. 
4. If you don't know what to talk about seek out some inspiration. My kids are loving @questionsforthekids ! But doing #showandtell usually works too!
The drawing is my son's from our family #coloringcontest and see those blue waves that is Santa going across the ocean to visit his family;)

#granddistanceparenting #happyholidays #santa #drawing #grandparents #grandchildren #listofthingstodo #facetime #Christmas
Another idea for you to facilitate connection between  #longdistancefamily and children - exchange stories of your favorite ornaments. Take pictures if your favorite ornaments and send an audio message with it via the messenger program or email that use to stay in touch with family. Share the stories around the #ornaments- when did you receive it?, did someone special get it for you? Why does it hold a special meaning for you? Have the child do the same! And send their response back to #grandma and #grandpa about their story. If you don't have ornaments, share pictures and audio of your favorite things around your house- #toys, pictures, #knickknacks, etc.
This is is my 4 year old #daughters favorite branch that she decorated herself, putting every single #candycane together! I hope it holds! In the background one of the many ornaments we received from grandma who lives in #Minnesota, which the #kids love as it reminds them of summers on #LakeMinnetonka. 
#granddistanceparenting #grandchildren #christmas #christmastree #virtualconnection #kerstsfeer #grootouders #kleinkinderen #momblogger
How did you connect with #longdistancefamily (or those nearby) virtually this week? 

This morning we partook in a virtual #christmas #coloringcontest with the #family that has other little kids!
We casted the call on the TV so the kids could see everyone's drawings and faces clearly. We gathered our drawings and also some snacks to help us sit patiently and listen carefully to the details of everyone's #drawings and judge's decisions.:) 
#granddistanceparenting #kidscrafts #momblogger #santahat #christmastree #facetime #skype #chromecast #holidayspirit
What are you doing to stay connected this holiday season? Here are some ideas for interactive virtual calls with the family in the run-up to #Christmas (but can easily be adapted to other holidays you may be celebrating).

1- Plan a Christmas or winter scene #coloringcontest with your #family. Have the kids make a video inviting friends and family with some basic rules. Select a creative judge who will ensure that everyone wins a prize from different categories- most blue, age groups, most christmasy, etc...make sure you have cookies on hand for the prizes. Decide on a date for submissions and a live presentation of the all of the drawings. 

2- a live #Christmascaroling or holiday songs #concert-  Have each caller make a list of songs they would like to sing or listen to together. Set a time to #sing together. #lipsyncing is allowed;). Talk about your favorite songs, not just holiday ones. 

3- make a #gingerbreadhouse together. Both callers should assemble the #cookies, candies, frosting, etc so you can decorate your own #gingerbread houses at the same time during the call. Talk about what you are doing, why you are doing it and ask each other for advice about where to put candy or add #snow.  Make sure you both have #hotcocoa on hand.
#granddistanceparenting #longdistancefamily #covidsafe #momblogger #Christmasactivities #facetime #grandparents #grandchildren
Another list for you of #christmas and #winter inspired activities for your video calls with the #grandparents. 

1. Make paper #ornaments together. This could not be easier- both callers get white printer paper, markers or crayons, scissors, string to hang on the tree and something to trace a circle. Trace your circle, cut it out, make your design and color it in, cut a tiny whole in the top and add your string and hang it up. Most important during this #craft is just to talk together about what you are doing and ask the child questions about what they are doing and if they have a favorite ornament or color. Talk about how you miss each other and what you have done together in previous Christmases and want you to do in the future together when you get to see each other. Ask #grandpa what his favorite Christmas was a child. 

2. Make #papersnowflakes together. ❄ you both need white printer paper, and a scissors. Google simultaneously paper snowflake for ideas on the folds and inspiration and share your ideas with each other. Fold the paper and start cutting and talk about what you are doing and show each other your progress. Then have the big reveal as you open it up. And watch #grandma and her proud face!

3. Write a #lettertosanta together. Yes adults and grandparents can write letters too. If your child cannot yet write, let them draw the pictures. You just need a piece of paper and a pencil. Talk about the importance of giving, being kind and that gifts are great but not the most important  part of the holiday. 

4. Make pipe cleaner #candycanes. Just need different color pipe cleaners to wrap around each other and form into a cane. During the activity talk about your favorite candy and sweets. 

All of these activities can be done at a kitchen table, with a small device pointing to the child's face so that they can also see the caller throughout the activity. Also a little tip for keeping kids under 10 at the table- always have snacks in reach to let them munch on when the activity is finished so they stay and listen a little longer. 

Happy calling and crafting!
#granddistanceparenting #longdistancefamily #videocallideas #craftswithkids #momblogger
Baking with #Oma!;) and friends and #grandma; as making #lussekatter is an involved process from making the #saffron #cardamom dough, letting it rise, rolling it out and shaping it, adding the raisins, brushing it with egg whites, letting it bake and enjoying the tasty results. This gives you an opportunity to ring a number of different people throughout the process to see the kids actively assisting in the #baking of these beautiful buns! 
We made these buns to celebrate #santalucia which was yesterday. It is a #Swedish tradition my maternal #grandfather passed on to me for having breakfast with family to acknowledge our thankfulness for food and companionship and incorporating more light into these dark days. 
#granddistanceparenting #longdistancefamily #bakingwithkids #momblogger #facetime #virtuallife #grandparents #grandchildren
How do you integrate #family from afar into your holiday traditions? A short list of activities in follow-up to Christmas to inspire you:

- Decorating the #christmastree 🎄 together? Setup the device in front of the tree next to the box of ornaments and let the kids show #grandma their favorite #ornaments as they put them on the tree; 

- #baking a batch of Christmas #cookies? 🍪 Get all your ingredients together, have a clean space for your device and get baking! 

- decorating your #gingerbread houses or #christmascookies? Clear a space on your dining room table for all the candy and sprinkles, prep your frosting and get decorating and have #grandpa do the same! Talk about what you are doing and if the walls cave or the frosting doesn't stick!?!

- wrapping presents 🎁 or addressing or making your #christmascards? This is particularly good for the busy family member that you can't pin down, make a date to get your presents wrapped or letters addressed and talk about the people you are mailing cards to;

- singing #carols across the world? Yep #virtualconcerts are fantastic especially if you can get your #uncle or #aunt to #singalong! Let the kids pick the program and get a singing!

There are so many great ways to facilitate connection between children and their #grandparents and #longdistancefamily and friends even if you are far away from each other and especially during holidays; but it does take a little patience and catching the kids as early in the day as possible is highly advised;P. 

#granddistanceparenting #facetime #Christmas #momblogger #activitieswithkids (always baking with the help of our @kitchenaid_be)