One of the simple pleasures of being a grandparent is sharing stories both those found in books and the ones that have been passed down through the generations, with the grandchildren.
Grandparents who live near their grandchildren are usually afforded ample opportunities for storytelling, but what about those who live far away?
Distance grandparenting has its own unique challenges, but some creative grandparents have found ways to stay close to their grandchildren, even when many miles separate them.
Read Me a Story, Grandma
Bedtime stories are favorites of children everywhere. A calming, familiar voice and a favourite tale of adventure combine to help little sleepyheads drift off to a peaceful sleep filled with dreams of castles, dragons and fairytale creatures.
For many grandparents, memories of tucking their own children into bed at night with a story and a prayer are some of their fondest, and they would love to be a part of their grandchildren’s bedtime routines, too.
One way for distant grandparents to be there at bedtime is to read storybooks onto tapes and then send those tapes to their grandchildren, allowing the kids to hear their grandparents’ voices whenever they wish.
Sometimes, it is nice to include the book along with the tape so that the children can follow along, turning the pages as Grandma or Grandpa read to them.
For young children, grandparents can even add commentary, much as they would if they were holding the child on their laps and reading the story together.
Helpful hints, such as a directive to turn the page, or interactive comments, like asking the child to find the kitten on the page as the story progresses, can make the storytelling feel more personal.
Additionally, using silly voices for some of the characters will help to bring the stories to life.
Sharing Personal Stories
In addition to reading books to children on tape, grandparents can share longstanding family stories with their grandchildren, as well as using tapes to have casual “chats” with the kids.
Children love to hear stories about when their parents were little children, particularly when those parents were naughty or did something especially silly. Including stories about the grandchildren is a good idea and helps the grandchildren feel connected to their grandparents.
Talking about how you felt the very first time that you held your grandchild or how proud you are of all the things that they can do are good ways to let the kids know just how much they mean to you.
When you can’t hug them in person, heartfelt talks can be the next best thing.
I’ll Tell You a Story, Grandma
As the children get to be preschool aged, they would probably enjoy returning the favor and sending tapes to their grandparents. Grandparents might make a special gift to a grandchild by sending them a tape recorder, a supply of tapes, padded envelopes and postage so that the children can make tapes for Grandma and Grandpa.
Children can then tell their grandparents stories about their adventures at school or with their family and friends so that their grandparents can continue to know the children as they grow and mature.
It would be the rare grandparents who wouldn’t be delighted to hear the little voices of their grandkids giggling and talking to them, and when it is on tape, Grandma and Grandpa can have a “virtual visit” with the kids any time that they are missing them.