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Connecting With Grandparents In A Digital Age

Posted by Patience on April 16, 2010 at 6:57 AM in Grandparents
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marmie love.jpg

"I miss Marmie mom!" Lucy (age 4) said one day while driving home from picking up the boys from school.
"We can call her, do you want to call?" I said.
"No, I wanna send her a message (i.e. text)." she replied.

As soon as we got home, the dictating began. "I like you Marmie, you like me and we are friends. Do you like flowers? because I like flowers." and the half hour of texting back and forth began.
"Mom, I made this picture for Marmie of us with the daffodils, take a picture on your phone and send it to Marmie, okay?" and my mom promptly sent one back. Even now, if Lucy is having a meltdown moment she sometimes asks me to use the cell phone so she can call my mom, instantly involving her in the everyday she might miss. I'm happy to have someone else calm her down in the car when I can't reach or talk to either of them.

It seems technology still plays a huge role when we finally do get to visit together. Lucy spent hours recording herself singing songs which only a grandmother could love. The kids took turns playing with different apps while we waited in restaurants and my mom took endless pictures with her phone to send to my dad who couldn't come.

The letter writing to your grandparents days are gone but I must say while I miss it, my kids probably won't. The new alternatives are just so much quicker and easier. With his own e-mail account, my ten year old can keep in contact in a much more effective and enjoyable way. He can even send his grandparents links from his Flickr accout to his latest lego creations. While this requires us to keep a close eye for his online safety, it's well worth it.

With a little help, even the youngest kids can join in. Skype allows that face to face connection so grandparents can see kids grow or just help you tell them what to do. My mom was helping my nephew Ethan clean his room just a few weeks ago. How great is that? Now there is another person to watch the "trick" 57,000 times or even read a book.
Let's face it, if our mothers are on Facebook, they aren't falling behind in our tech loving world. It's all just an added bonus to new levels for our kids.

Do your kids use technology to connect with far away loved ones? If so, which forms are their favorites? Are your parents open to new technology or are they intimidated? Tell us in the comments.


Brooke writes...

Yes!! My four year old uses skype all the time to talk to his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and even his father who is deployed! His grandparents (who live across the country) were hesitant at first with all the setup but once they used it the very first time and got to see him during the call, they were hooked. Now I can't keep my son off the computer and he logs on and calls people without me even being here!

Jess writes...

So far the kids' use of technology for communication is limited to cell phones. In this day of unlimited calling plans and text messaging, it seems so much easier to give kids the freedom to talk to their loved ones. We haven't skyped yet, but I think my in-laws would love it.

I love blogging for keeping relatives posted in between more direct communication. I knew my in-laws would read and appreciate a blog and created my first one with them in mind. They're still one of my most loyal readers!

Any advice for families who are living in the digital age but have some relatives who don't want to join it?

PatienceAuthor Profile Page writes...

I think gentle introduction helps...and lots of education. Also, when my kids initiate the contact through some new technology it seems to go better. Anyone else have any tips?

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