grandparents and their grandchildren

Kaye Swain and other grandparents often fly to visit grandchildren-including from Sacramento airportMobile Grandparents – On the Go

Our nation is more mobile now than probably any time in history. Yes, the famous words “Go West Young Man,” reportedly spoken by Horace Greeley, are indicative of all the people through the years who traveled far away, leaving friends and family for years, if not forever. But now, we have people going back and forth hundreds of miles-by plane, bus, car, and train – sometimes on a  daily occurrence. And yes, that includes plenty of grandparents visiting long distance grandkids.

That can be a challenge, can’t it? Compressing weeks, months, or even a whole year worth of hugs, kisses, and sharing into one week – give or take. How do we do it? Can we do it? YES we can. I have done it often for years, as have many of my relatives and friends including Lisa of Grandma’s Briefs. We are here to assure any new long distance grandparents, you CAN keep close relationships despite the distance. How?

Staying Close While Grandparenting Long Distance

  1. For me, first and foremost, is prayer – As I read today in Colossians 1 during my daily Bible study,  “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.”  It’s a grand model of what and how to pray for all of our loved ones, including our sweet grandchildren. What a blessed way to leave a sweet spiritual legacy, don’t you think?
  2. Phone calls – It’s been interesting. Not all grandchildren like to talk on the telephone. Of my many grandkids, one LOVES to talk on the phone – she’s my little phone-buddy. A few HATE to talk on the phone. The rest are rather mixed so we get to occasionally but not super lots. Makes me doubly grateful for texting, snail mail, and visits.
  3. Read or sing together – in person or on the phone. I love to read to my grandchildren and they enjoy being read to. Over the years I’ve read a few books to them on the phone or sung fun songs to them. One grandchild loves to read to me and that’s interesting as well. She picks out a favorite book periodically which gives us a fun time on the phone and a chance to learn more about her and her likes. Times change though. A few are getting old enough and are such great readers, that special time has ended for them and me. But now, they’ve moved on to…
  4. Texting – a handful of my grandkids are old enough to get to use a family smart phone for occasional texting with family or close friends. That has opened up fun times of text chatting and playing Words with Friends or Carcassonne long distance. It tends to go in spurts – a bunch of texts/plays for a half hour, then nothing for days. But that does work well around my work schedule.
  5. iPhone or other Smart Phone Games – in person and across the miles My grandkids and I have enjoyed Words with Friends and Carcassone sitting side by side or hundreds of miles apart. Hangman is another favorite of ours – cuddling close or driving in the car (they do all the word picking unless we come to a stop, then I can pick one for them – but mostly it’s them picking the word and me guessing without being able to look). Talk about great brain exercise for both of us!
  6. Board Game Fun – Granted, most people don’t play these from long distance but I frequently travel with two or three of our favorite board games in my suitcase to enjoy with the grandkids when I get there. A simpler solution is to gift those favorite games to them at birthdays or Christmas and then play them when you visit. Trouble, Sequence and Chess continue to be favorites of my grandkids with me – while Risk is a favorite for them and their other set of grandparents – my sweet “co-grandparents.” 🙂 (If y’all are into chess big time that IS a board game that can be played without seeing the board, using just the names of the board squares. We don’t do that, but it could be fun for chess fans!)
  7. Face time – YES, we often see our picture on that Facetime screen and feel like we look ODD on Facetime, but generally speaking, the kids don’t care how they or we look. So I have just learned to ignore what I look like and cherish the moments of enjoying what my grandkids look like. 🙂
  8. Video Fun – Some grandparents do videos the normal, traditional, serious way. Thanks to an Instagram friend, my grandkids and I do it hilariously, using Crazy Helium Booth (the paid version). Every so often, we’ll videotape ourselves talking and text it to each other – enjoying great laughter in the process.
  9. Crafts – You know me, so you knew this was coming. Here are some of the things I took with me on my last driving trip to grandkids. I wound up having more time than I thought, though, so had to make an emergency run to Michael’s Crafts for even more craft goodies! The funny thing was, though, we immediately got immersed in something else and the extra goodies ended up staying unused – waiting for a sick day with their mom or my next visit. All in all, though, we had a great time, a lovely visit, and made some cute projects, affordably thanks to the Dollar Store. Now that I’m home, I’m always watching out for fun ideas to share with you on Facebook as well as to save for ideas for my next visit OR to pass on to the moms and grandkids to enjoy now. Craft projects also make great gifts – for birthdays, holidays, or just plain “I’m bored” days. Even though I might not be there when they make them, I still got to be a part of them having educational and tactile fun with crafts from a long way away. Very cool to think about!
  10. Snail Mail – My senior mom sticks with snail mail and she and the grandkids all love that. They thrill to get mail, enjoy the cards she picks out or the articles she clips and sends them. She even subscribes to a couple of fun magazines including Birds and Bloom and A kids nature magazine. She clips fun photos and activities from these magazines and sends them to various grandchildren. Again, great brain food for both her and them.

Grand Resources for Grandparents

It helps that we are not alone. There are many long distance grandparents out there and plenty of terrific resources to help us, including:

Grandparents who live far away from grandchildren definitely have some extra challenges. You’ve heard some of my best tips for dealing with it. Now it’s your turn. Do you have any special tips for long distance grandparenting? We’d love to hear!

 

Spiritual Sundays are full of encouraging and comforting BIble verses and praise music to lift the hearts of the Sandwich Generation

Fun for grandparents - in AND out of the Sandwich Generation - at Grand Social

Kaye Swain REALTOR®Woohoo – it’s an extra-special day here at SandwichINK! It’s time for the big grand-daddy blog party of them all – the Ultimate Blog Party 2014. This will be the FIFTH year I’ve joined in and I’m quite excited about it. Not only that, I’m bringing my mulitgenerational BLOG family along with my multigenerational blog, SandwichINK. For the past several years, I’ve been combining caring for my elderly parents with helping big-time with my grandkids and writing all about it here at SandwichINK for the Sandwich Generation (defined as those caring for elderly parents while raising children and/or caring for grandkids), along with  SandwichINK Real Estate Info (I rarely post there anymore but there are some great tips and tricks for multigenerational caregivers there as well!)

This past year, my grandkids have gotten older and – while I am still blessed to spend a lot of time with them, it’s less than past years. Thus, I took the next step I started with an AA in Real Estate and got my Real Estate License  – in THREE different states (tho I am only using one now  🙂 ), along with becoming an official REALTOR®. I’m taking all my years of experience with caregiving and real estate investing along with an excellent education and putting it to good work for my real estate clients – near and far.

I’ve always loved real estate which was handy since I was helping my senior parents with their real estate needs, giving advice to my kids, and buying-selling-and renting my own homes. It’s even more fun now that I’m working with Keller Williams Realty. And I am thoroughly enjoying continuing my two boomer and senior blogs as well as adding two more. The first is KayeSwain.com where I focus on Real Estate in general, including sharing fun ideas for home decor, frugal home staging tips, finding plenty of pink and blue goodies and more. On top of that, I am always on the lookout for homes with aging in place options and multigenerational possibilities which I share at both SandwichINK AND at KayeSwain.com The second new blog is Old Historic Homes. I started that one to help dear ones sell their 100-year-old Victorian Farmhouse. Now I write about all the delightful old and often historic homes here in my neck of the woods – and trust me, there are many.

But don’t worry, I’m also still sharing plenty of other resources and ideas of interest to boomers and seniors like great games for grandkids, practical ideas to help our elderly seniors, and Scripture pictures and verses to encourage all of us from our grandkids on up to their great-grandparents.

SandwichINK for the Sandwich Generation is again nominated for best boomers resource AND social media rockstar at SeniorHomes

Not only that, I’m even more active online in social media. You can see my tweets in the column on the right and find all my sites by clicking here. And I’m thrilled to announce that I have again been nominated for SeniorHomes.com Best Senior Living Awards 2014 .  SandwichINK has been nominated for Best Boomer Resources and I’ve been nominated for the category of Social Media Rockstars – Individuals – WOOHOO! That’s truly music to my ears and eyes. 

Here are some samples of my articles here at SandwichINK:

And what’s a party without some fun gifts?

One of my favorite things are MOBILE APPS! I love them and so do my grandkids. Even my mom has a couple of favorites for her iPad. I pretty much have to help her with them, but she thoroughly enjoys seeing updated photos of her great-grandkids or listening to a favorite book on it. I love to find useful mobile apps to share here and at my other sites.

My best gift to you is a FREE mobile app called AppsGoneFree – every day it tells me about 4-7 FREE apps – but you have to hurry, they might ONLY be free for THAT DAY. It’s a grand resource and it’s how I have found more than a couple of hundred excellent tools and resources including grand games for the grandkids, fun photo apps, and even apps to help me with my real estate business. CLICK HERE to download it, then ENJOY! (It doesn’t appear that Android has the same app but I did find Droid of the Day – with one free app per day and good reviews. 🙂 )

More free gifts! Coloring pages for the grandkids – always a hit with my long-distance grandkids!

My grandson will LOVE this cute truck coloring page - how about your grandkids

 

And all my grandkids will love this dinosaur coloring page - fun for baby boomer grandparents AND grandkids

 

A cute frame for grandkids to decorate for a gift

Stationery for grandkids and elderly parents and the boomers and seniors in between

 

Thank you again for joining in the Ultimate Blog Party 2014. I look forward to chatting with you this week. 🙂

SandwichINK and SandwichINK Real Estate Info are joining in the fun at the Ultimate Blog Party 2014 at 5 Minutes for Mom which is also open to grandparents boomers and seniors

 

It’s a beautiful and lushly silent snowy day at my grandkids and other areas around. I’m hoping the roads will be a bit less slushy and slippery in a couple of hours so my granddaughter and I can go to her church together. It’s a bit iffy right now. But my senior mom will be fine at her home as she enjoys church on her iPad, enjoying a modern version of Paul’s words in Romans 10:16-18, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

A lovely day full of snow - good sermons - and silent peace for this REALTOR® Kaye Swain and my senior mom

For many elderly seniors, church on TV has long been a tremendous blessing. It’s harder for them to get out and about. Plus they may not be able to sit for a prolonged period of time. Getting to join in the singing and sermons via TV keeps them close and connected to friends and family plus helps them to continue to grow in the teachings of the Lord.

Of course,nowadays TV has plenty of company – like computers, smart phones, and Tablets like my elderly mom’s iPad. Many times, those are just the sermons. But some churches offer the music as well. And some churches even have a live streaming option at the normal time they have their own services – giving you even more of the feel of “being there.” This can be a special blessing for those sweet elders who have attended their church for years and can no longer attend in person. (It’s also grand for women in the last few days before having a baby who aren’t able to make it, parents and kids who are sick at home with one bug after another, families dealing with special needs, etc.) Hopefully, more and more churches will offer a wide variety of options.

One caution when you are adding a church (or any other app) to your senior parent’s iPad. Make sure you test drive it thoroughly to ensure it works without glitches and hiccups. I put a website on my mom’s iPad – it’s an “app that is coming” so they have you save it to the screen. The only problem – I couldn’t get it to turn off! Very odd. I don’t know if that was a one time thing but I DO know that would totally confuse my mom, so into the trash it went – virtually. There are plenty of other great options for her!

The iPad is a great tool to bless our senior parents. My mom is still not able to do a lot with hers. But she continues to enjoy pictures of her grandkids and great-grandkids, listening to music and audio books, as well as excellent sermons from our two favorite pastors. A sweet blessing, indeed!

P.S. The roads continued snowier than I like to drive in (being a California girl I never have gotten that fond of driving in snow), so I’m headed off to my iPhone for my own grand sermon. Happy Sunday to y’all – in AND out of the Sandwich Generation! 🙂