7 Small Ways to Love Your Grandkids from Afar

Every grandparent who loves their grandkids from afar has an underlying sense that they're somehow missing out on important milestones. Fortunately, we live in a time where we can hop on a video call and see their sweet faces anytime. Yet, it sure would be nice to let them know they're loved in more ways than one.

If miles are separating you and your grandchildren, and you'd like to find more ways to connect, here are seven small ways to love them from afar.

1. Send a Postcard with a Smile

I don't know about you, but with stamp prices now over the half-dollar mark, I'm more in favor of the trusty postcard. Various postcards were introduced as far back as the 18th century, but they didn't take off until the 1889 Eiffel Tower postcard created by French engraver Charles Libonis. Today, the varieties are endless, and there are plenty of options to choose from.

Consider sending your grandkids fun postcards with knock-knock jokes, riddles, or cartoons to color. Or, choose one with an inspiring message or Bible verse. Not only will they be happy to receive their very own snail-mail, but they'll also feel specially connected to you.

2. Create a Running Story

The idea behind a running story is for you and your grandkids to write an imaginative tale through a back-and-forth process by email. Not only does this activity get their creative juices flowing, but it also brings you together in a unique way.

Here's how to get started:

Type an opening sentence such as "Once upon a time there was a panda bear named…" Then, send the story starter to your grandchild, asking them to add to it. In turn, they'll send their portion back to you, and your running story is created.

This can go on as long as you like, and you'll both get a laugh out of the silly twists and turns the story takes. Of course, this can also be done through snail mail if you have the time and patience or if your grandkids need a little extra handwriting practice.

3. Plan a FaceTime Cookie-Baking Class

Who says you can't bake cookies with your grandkids from afar? This is where FaceTime comes in extra handy! Schedule a Saturday morning when you and your grandchildren can bake together from your own kitchens. Send the recipe ahead of time so their parents can gather the ingredients.

Have a blast showing your grandkids how to measure, mix, roll, and bake. You can even turn it into an educational activity by talking about solids and liquids, the difference between baking powder and baking soda, and explaining why there needs to be plenty of space between cookies as they bake.

By the end of your baking class, you'll have spent precious time with your grandkids doing something you long to do in person—with a sweet treat in the end!

4. Pray with Specificity

Now that we've discussed fun ways to love your grandkids from afar let's talk about the Spiritual side of things.

Recently, a Christian mentor encouraged me to start praying with specificity over each of my grandchildren. While I've always prayed for them by name, I loved the idea of being specific with my prayers and asking God to work in their lives.

Here are a few specific things to pray for:

-Their school/education

-Their friends/social influences

-Their emotions/feelings

-Their beliefs about Jesus and the Bible

Praying with specificity over our grandkids is the best way to love them near or far. Interceding on their behalf is like going to battle for them—heart, mind, and soul. The Lord hears our prayers and is faithful to answer. He loves them and longs for them to enter into a relationship with Him. This is one thing we can count on as we love our grandkids from afar.

5. Go on a Scavenger Hunt

I still remember when I was 3 or 4 years old, and my parents sent me on a mini scavenger hunt to find a birthday present. When I finally found it (in the clothes dryer), I was thrilled to see it was a jumbo stuffed elephant that was soft and squishy.

Create a long-distance scavenger hunt with your grandchildren by calling or texting them with a list of household items to find. Depending on their age, you can make it as difficult as you like. The main thing is to have fun!

Here is a list of items you can include:

-Q-tip

-Pencil

-Magazine

-Toy car

-Doll

-Paper clip

-Spatula

The list could be kept short, or you could divide a longer list amongst multiple grandchildren. Consider timing them and turning it into a friendly competition. Ask them to send a photo of all the items they collect. HINT: This is one activity you'll want to discuss with their parents first!

Here are more fun resources for scavenger hunt ideas:

100 Scavenger Hunt Clues for Kids to Keep Busy With This Fall

Free Scavenger Hunt Lists

6. Weekly Bedtime Story

There's nothing quite like the experience of reading bedtime stories with your grandkids and tucking them into bed. Reading together creates sweet moments of interesting discussions, lots of cuddles, and bedtime prayers.

The good thing is, you can still participate in their bedtime routine - even from afar. Schedule a weekly bedtime story with Grandma or Grandpa and choose a book to read over Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime. Be prepared to stop often to show them the pictures and ask questions. Then, ask them to read a story to you.

This can become a memorable way to show your love from afar—and occasionally relieve their parents from their bedtime duties. This is a win-win if you ask me!

7. Tell Them What You Love Most

When was the last time you told your grandkids what you love most about them—their smile, politeness, or drawing abilities? Whatever you love most, be sure to let them know.

Offering words of affirmation is so important in the development of children. It builds them up, increases their confidence, and tells them specifically why they are loved.

One thing to keep in mind is that compliments about their character are super important. This helps turn their focus from outward appearances to inner qualities. You can even remind them of people in the Bible who had similar characteristics, such as David's courage, Solomon's wisdom, and Daniel's faith.

Loving your grandkids from afar isn't always easy but can be done in more ways than one. With a bit of planning and creativity, you can connect with them in new ways and create lasting memories. So, how will you love your grandkids today?

A Prayer for Grandparents Who Live Far Away: Gracious God, please be with every grandparent and grandchild who live apart. Please close the gap through intentional ways of showing love across the miles. Comfort the hearts of grandparents who feel like they are missing out on important milestones, and help their grandkids know just how much they are loved. In Jesus' holy name, amen.

Photo credit: ©GettyImages TeoLazarev

Jennifer WaddleJennifer Waddle is the author of several books, including Prayer WORRIER: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayerand is a regular contributor for LifeWay, Crosswalk, Abide, and Christians Care International. Jennifer’s online ministry is EncouragementMama.com where you can find her books and sign up for her weekly post, Discouragement Doesnt Win. She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth. 

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