Growing up, I had the privilege of having my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins living just minutes away. We all lived in the same town, where our family members decided to settle down. We not only saw each other for every holiday, but also on regular weekends, extracurricular activities, and school functions. This was my normal. However, when my husband and I moved to the Midwest soon after I found out I was pregnant, I was concerned that my baby wouldn’t get to know her extended family. With my husband’s side of the family also not living nearby, we were venturing into unfamiliar territory.
Having a strong family connection has always been important to me, and I believe that my upbringing played a significant role in shaping who I am today. Although I know that in-person visits won’t be as frequent since we live far away, there are many other ways I can foster a connection between my daughter and our family, especially her grandparents.
If you’re facing a similar challenge, here are five easy ways to help your child stay close to their grandparents and other extended family or friends.
1. Have Scheduled FaceTime/Video Calls
Video chatting via platforms like FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Skype can be a lifesaver for staying connected, especially when grandparents are eager to see their grandchild on a typical Thursday afternoon. You can have spontaneous video calls most of the time, but if that doesn’t work for you and your child, try scheduling weekly calls with the grandparents. This will give everyone something to look forward to and provide an opportunity for them to see their grandchild’s parents as well.
2. Print and Hang Pictures
In this digital age, printing out pictures may seem like a throwback, but it can be a nice way to have physical reminders of loved ones. Take full-color pictures of grandparents, aunts, uncles, or any important family members and frame them to hang on the wall. This will not only add a nostalgic touch to your home decor but also help your baby recognize their family members. Make it a game by pointing and naming each person as you look at the pictures. You can also create photo books with pictures of family members and your baby together, which your child can keep on their bookshelves.
3. Create Audiobooks
I’ve noticed that my five-month-old daughter sometimes struggles to recognize her father without his glasses, but as soon as he speaks, she lights up. Creating audiobooks is a simple and fun way to expand your child’s toy inventory while also familiarizing them with voices they may not hear every day. Ask each grandparent to record an audiobook and listen to them together every week. Your child may not recognize their grandparent’s voice right away, but they will develop a sense of familiarity over time.
4. Take All the Videos and Pictures
When my daughter was born, I hesitated to constantly share photos and videos with our family, thinking it might be overwhelming. However, I soon realized that they actually appreciate receiving regular updates. Since grandparents can’t visit daily, make an effort to capture as many precious moments as possible in pictures and videos. This way, they can witness their grandchild’s growth and you can cherish these memories in the future. Consider setting up a shared photo album on a cloud service, such as iCloud or Google Photos, to make it easy for everyone to access and contribute to the collection.
5. Talk About Grandma and Grandpa Everyday
This tip is simple yet impactful. Talk to your child about their grandparents every day. Mention them by name and discuss things like their house and what they might be doing. This will help your child understand the importance of these family members, even if they don’t see them often. Regularly engaging in conversations about grandparents will help strengthen the bond between your child and their grandparents as they grow older.