Getting to know your grandbaby from afar is hard, but distance isn’t a barrier to a baby bonding with grandparents.
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Welcoming your first grandchild is so exciting, but not all of us can be there to meet them. When grandparents are at a distance, it sometimes seems as if we won’t have the chance to bond with our grandchild during the early months. We worry that missing that crucial developmental stage will have an impact on our entire relationship.
Have no fear! First, unless you met your spouse at birth or have never made a friend, you know it’s entirely possible to have a meaningful relationship with someone you meet later in life. If you don’t meet your grandchild until they are out of the cradle, you can still form a deep, lasting bond.
Second, there are ways for you to make sure your grandbaby knows you from birth, even if you aren’t there. Babies learn through sight and sound, and you can make sure they hear and see you with these four ideas.
Message in a Bear
This plush bear from Amazon has a voice recorder inside. You’ll record a 20 second message, then send the bear to your grandchild’s parents. They can activate it so your voice becomes part of your grandbaby’s world. Not sure what to say? Sing a simple song like Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star, or recite a nursery rhyme. Or tell them how much you love them, or how much you look forward to meeting them. You can order the Record-a-Voice Bear here.
A Book of You
Pinhole Press’ board books are ideal for helping babies learn the faces of distance grandparents. Create a book with 12-20 photos of you as you go about your day. Include pictures of you making silly faces or various expressions. Include distance aunts and uncles or cousins, if you’d like. My grandchildren adore the one we made for them with all their loved ones, and it’s held up incredibly well. Order your own book here.
We are incredibly lucky to be grandparents in the age of video chat. Facetime, Skype, Zoom, Google Meet—whatever platform you use, having the opportunity to interact with your grandchild from afar is perhaps the most exciting technical advance I can think of (though depositing a check with my phone might be a close second!).
Just remember that a baby’s attention span is miniscule, and don’t expect them to engage with the screen for a few months. In the early days, just talking to them for a minute or two is enough to start getting them familiar with your voice. As they get older, they will eventually notice you and begin to interact! A great time for FaceTime is while they are having tummy time—just ask their parents to set the screen where you can see the baby and sing your favorite songs! Check out this blog post for video chat ideas when they get a little older.
Record-a-Story Books from Hallmark
The product development team at Hallmark clearly knows their market: They have a collection of recordable story books that are designed with grandparents in mind. The stories include some wonderful titles like Under the Same Moon, Even Elephants Have Grandmas, and All the Ways I Love You. You buy the book, record the story, then send it to your grandbaby. As parents share the book with them, they’ll become familiar with your voice. (Hopefully you will do better than me and be able to read emotional stories without choking up!) Find your favorite at Hallmark.com or your local Hallmark store.
(Just a note: Amazon carries some recordable books, but they have terrible reviews. The Hallmark ones are worth the extra money, so I linked to them even though I’m not an affiliate.)
Do you have any other tips for bonding with baby from a distance? Please share them in the comments!
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