Sitting in my 9th grade English class, our teacher explained that his biggest fear was not dying, but not being remembered after he was gone. It struck such a nerve in me that I have never forgotten those words.
Similarly, I was recently walking through Downtown Boston when I saw the grave of Mary Chilton at King’s Chapel. I kind of giggled to my husband that the only reason history remembers her is because she was the first to step off a boat. You know, the Mayflower.
But history remembers her.
The idea that stories of you are carried on means you’re never forgotten. But what happens if everyone that knew you and knew those stories is also gone?
That’s why it’s important both for grandparents and grandkids to have a written record of their relationship. It becomes not just a story to tell or fleeting memories to have, but it becomes a treasure to hold on to and continue to share.
My mom wrote about why it’s important for her to write physical letters to her grandkids, but really it’s just as important to be able to see the kids writing back for our family’s history! In fact, she recently sat down with one of her cousins who had memories of a grandparent that my mother couldn’t recall but that brought the story of her Grandma to life even more.
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UNIQUE ways to build a long-distance relationship between children and their grandparents
Become grandparent/grandchild pen pals
Whether you’re a family living and making relationships work long distance or right down the street, it’s still a cute idea!
My mom took a bunch of envelopes and stamps, addressed them to herself and even to other family like my daughter’s great-grandmother, and then gave them to use.
It was a small investment on her part to establish a line of communication with my children and a fun way that my oldest feels connected with those she sends letters too.
Plus the magic and awe of getting something of your own in the mail when you’re so little is special. Whether it’s just a postcard or an entire package, being pen pals with one another is a special relationship-building idea, especially for long distance grandparents.
Harness modern technology to send pictures & letters through the printer
While you may be using your phones and tablets to talk on FaceTime or Google Hangouts, did you know your printer is a fun way to connect too?
One day I was talking to my mom on the phone telling her about an deal I got with HP instant Ink for my new printer. She laughed and said “Yeah, We have that too!”. And as I started talking to her, we started thinking of the ways HP’s ePrint printers could be used between us.
The benefits of having an ePrint printer or one with a dedicated email addressed opened up a world of possibilities. And they’re not even that expensive!
Now, my daughter can draw a picture, scan it using the “scan to email” option, and by inputing my mom’s printer’s email, a beautiful copy is in her hands in less than 5 minutes.
Living 1,700 miles away, this was a HUGE discovery.
And it’s become a fun tool to have. When my oldest heard my brother was at my parents’ house, she drew his family a photo and sent it too. And it means so much more to have something in your hands than to simply take a photo to post online.
Digitally store family memories to preserve them
Like creating a memory box, you can easily set up an online collection of pictures, letters, and drawings for kids and grandkids to have.
While this can obviously include anything, segment it, creating a folder that’s your child and their grandparents. Just remember that technologically speaking, a file doesn’t “exist” if it is not in 3 places. So we back up on an external hard drive or flash drive, have an email folder, and store on a cloud server. This can be done through Google Drive, Amazon Drive, or another cloud storage device.
With our HP Printer, we actually use the “scan to email” function to automatically send it to the specified email address and then we save it to the other two places from there.
Don’t forget the power of a thank you note
Of course grandparents love to buy gifts and spoil them so much. Getting a Thank You note kit is a great way for kids to connect with their grandma or grandpa and even other family. Not only does it acknowledge the gift, but sometimes, kids truly have the funniest and most memorable things to say!
Other Grandparent Posts you’ll love!
- Creating a simple art wall from (grand) kids’ drawings.
- Cherishing moments with Grandkids.
- One grandma’s gift wrapping trick for big families.
Teresa is Kara’s own mother! Professionally, she is a retired National Board Certified Elementary Physical Education Teacher. She is now the grandma to 5 beautiful babies and is the planner and coordinator of games and activities for the toddlers, preschoolers, and young kids at her church.