Staying connected with Grandparents living in another state can be a challenge. Children are often reluctant to write letters or speak on the phone unprompted and grandparents may find it difficult to keep up with the ever-changing interests of their grandchildren. Our family for most of our children’s lives lived pretty close to their grandparents. My children grew up spending holidays and fun casual weekends with their grandma, who lived just an hour away from our home. Their other grandparents lived just a state away and visited often. That all changed, though, when we moved across country.
Between living thousands of miles away, juggling work and school schedules, and the cost of airfare we are not able to visit our children’s grandparents often. The grandparents are also faced with these same dilemmas. My husband and I were afraid our children would lose the precious bond they had with their grandparents. After enduring too many strained phone calls, I came up with the idea of a Virtual Family Book Club.
I discussed the idea with my children and their grandparents and all were eager to start a Family Book Club. Our biggest challenges were how to choose a book for children at three very different reading levels and how to get everyone “together” for a book discussion. The solution came as simple division. Each child along with one of their grandparents reads the same book and they schedule a time for discussion. Then they meet up with the designated grandparent on the phone or via video chat to discuss the book selected the month before.
The children chose the first books but the children and their grandparents alternate suggestions of future books. The most popular books they read were suggested favorites from the grandparent’s childhoods. The books the children suggest are often reflective of their current interests, hobbies, or experiences allowing them to share everyday elements with their grandparents even though they live far away.
With a Family Book Club, my children and their grandparents are able to stay involved with one another across a long distance and are learning so much about one another in the process. The children enjoy the one on one time they spend with their grandparents and the grandparents love being included in their grandchildren’s lives. Now my kids can’t wait to talk on the phone to their grandparents.