Bring Faraway Grandparents and Grandkids Closer

grandparent and childIn Maui, many grandparents and grandchildren are a flight away from one another. It may be a short interisland flight, a longer flight to the mainland, or even an international flight. No matter the distance, with a little bit of creativity and time, that beautiful intergenerational relationship can bloom.

With all the advances in technology, phone calls, texts and video chats are a staple for long distance relationships, but there is magic in the old fashioned low tech ideas of yesterday.

Be pen pals. Letʻs face it, regardless of age, nothing quite matches the joy of mail from someone you love. And there are so many ideas to keep this activity fun and engaging for everyone.

Exchange postcards. This idea not only brings together grandparents and grandchildren, but can be a fun family affair if everyone is always on the lookout for fun postcards.

Write a story together. The grandchildʻs age will dictate the complexity of the story. Grandparents and grandchildren will take turns writing a sentence, paragraph or even page. This not only offers writing practice but also creates anticipation for the next letter.

Create traditions. Traditions provide both children with a sense of time, place and belonging. One grandmother sends a birthday card for each year, so for a grandchildʻs 5th birthday, 5 cards arrive in the mail.

Celebrate holidays together. A grandmother sees her grandchildren every year or two, so when they are together they celebrate all the major holidays. One day is Thanksgiving with a turkey and stuffing dinner, another is St. Patrickʻs day with green pancakes and milk for breakfast, and so on.

Play games. Many traditional board games are now available online, making it possible for two people who live miles apart to play together. Some examples include Scrabble, Battleship, Checkers, Chess, Tic Tac Toe, etc. Other low tech games can easily be played over the phone, such as mad libs and 20 questions.

For grandparents and grandchildren who both live on Maui, contact Mauiʻs UH Extension office at 244-3242 ext 226 or heather8@hawaii.edu for information on grandparent/grandchild workshops and events.