THE IMPORTANCE OF GRANDPARENTS

Grandparents have always played an essential role in bringing up children, but nowadays, more people rely on their parents to help them with their kids. The unconditional love of grandparents benefits children in many ways. A grandparent’s love and warmth creates a special bond between both generations. Most important, it gives them a feeling of comfort and security.

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BUILDING A LONG-DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR GRANDCHILDREN

Distance makes the heart grow fonder, right? Phooey, it stinks! Forming and maintaining bonds with grandchildren long distance can be challenging and sometimes frustrating. Luckily, technology helps bridge the gap of physical distance.

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ENJOYING ROAD TRIPS WITH GRANDCHILDREN

The summer months provide the perfect opportunity to spend extra time with your grandchildren. Perhaps a week at Grandma and Grandpa’s house is something the children look forward to every year, but this summer, why not go on a little adventure? Road trips can create a whole new family experience, something the children will remember forever.

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You can create your own game and play however it works for everyone, whether in real time or back and forth through texts. Sto- ries can be read via video chat or even pre-recorded and emailed.


TEENS


Too cool and “in the know” is the motto for this bunch. Brush up on Internet acronyms and emoticon meanings to impress your older grandchildren with your hipness and ability to “get it.” Again, if they have a gaming console you should get one, too, if possible. Apps teens might enjoy include Scoodle Jam, a free cooperative drawing app for ages 13 years and up. It provides 18 scene starters and a blank comic strip and allows you to create your own scene by selecting a photo. The app can also be used for homework help, planning a trip or designing a project together. Chess.com can help develop kids’ strategic thinking skills. They can ponder moves for days or play through. Word With Friends is a fun vocabulary-building game teens and adults both love.


Perhaps you and your grandchild(ren) can start a blog together. Take turns picking a topic and then both of you can write your take on it and post. It can provide a lot of insight into stages of life and also offer a non-preachy way for you to get across important life lessons. Wordpress, the most popular and free blog site available, has numerous layout and design options.

Distance makes the heart grow fonder, right? Phooey, it stinks! Forming and maintaining bonds with grandchildren long distance can be challenging and sometimes frustrating. Luckily, technology helps bridge the gap of physical distance.


If you haven’t already employed social media and other online tools for your relationships, you should. Whether it’s texts with smart phones, live video calls that allow for interaction and document or game sharing or other social media platform, try to come up with an activity or game that keeps the kid(s) participating and playing. This could be trivia or something else that suits their interests. If the grandchildren have a gaming console such as a Wii, Xbox or PlayStation, get one yourself so you can play video games together while voice chatting. You’ll be the coolest grandparent ever in their eyes.


There are so many wonderful apps and social media platforms available it would be impossible to mention them all. Here are some that can help keep your connections strong, no matter the distance.


YOUNGER GRANDCHILDREN


When it comes to younger children, interactive is the name of the game. Play games, draw and read stories together.

BUILDING A LONG-DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR GRANDCHILDREN

Scoot & Doodle is a free drawing and sketching app that can be used in Google Hangouts. Drawpile is another free app that allows children to share their art masterpieces with anyone in their network. It’s interactive so the receiver can add color to a drawing or an audio recording before sending the piece back to the sender. Draw Something is a drawing game app for i-devices, android phones and computers. Users draw pictures for others to guess. Disney’s Scribble Mix is a mobile-only drawing game similar to Pictionary. It can be downloaded for free with advertising or for 99 cents without ads. Ustyme was developed by a pair of grandparents for children ages 2 to 8 years. Frustrated that they were unable to keep their grandchildren’s attention over Skype, they built this platform to share books and games while on live video calls. It comes with two books and one game for free and has more than 50 books available for 99 cents to $1.99. Kindoma is another storytime app for ages 2 to 7 years. Available on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, it has 200 books available; 10 are free. Books for purchase range from $2.99 to $12.99, or you can get unlimited access for $6.99 a month. Tipitap is a drawing app for ages 3 to 7 years. You have to download the $1.99 app and share a unique code. The platform provides blank “sheets” to draw and 28 coloring pages, along with six paper games such as Tic-Tac-Toe, Dots and Boxes.  

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela S. Hoover is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

more articles by Angela S. Hoover