Danielle McCarthy

Family & Pets

Tips for grandparenting in the digital age

Tips for grandparenting in the digital age

With an increasingly globalised world making it easier than ever for people to live wherever they want, it can be difficult for grandparents to remain an important figure in the lives of their grandchildren. Until relatively recently, if a grandparent didn’t live close by, they would have limited contact with their families, making it tricky to form meaningful connections.

However, with the prevalence of newer and better technologies is making it easier than ever to stay in your family’s life in fun and creative ways. Here are some tips to make being a digital grandparent a breeze.

1. Invest in the basics

Before you can begin being a great digital grandparent, you’ll need some simple tools to make the job easier:

  • If your house doesn’t have Wi-Fi, you’ll need to set that up. Wi-Fi makes video calls easier to schedule and more flexible because you’re not bound to one room.
  • Buy a smartphone or tablet computer that you can easily use. There’s no point spending money on a device you can’t or won’t use. Take the time to find a salesperson who is patient and easy to understand who will help you find a device you can use with ease. If you don’t pick things up quickly, it might be worth finding a community group that offers device tutorials.
2. Video calling

By now, you’ve probably heard of Skype and FaceTime, two of the most commonly used video call options. If you haven’t yet used these features, then it’s time you begin. Schedule regular video chats with your grandchildren to stay up-to-date on their progress (if they’re toddlers), or their personal lives (if they’re nearing their teen years). If a simple video call is a little boring, then get creative with it – read them a picture book, or give them a simple cooking lesson (with the help of their parents). Making the time you have meaningful for you both will help solidify your relationship.

3. Social media

If you don’t already have an active social media presence, you’ll want to create one for yourself. As your grandchildren get older, they’re more likely to communicate with just about anyone via social media channels than via phone calls, so keeping your Facebook profile updated is a good way to keep them up-to-date on your life, as well as provide you with a window into theirs. Just remember these digital grandparent social media tips:

  • No essays: comments on photos and other posts should be kept short and on topic. If you like the photo, tell them it’s great and leave it at that – no need to write, “love grandma” at the end. They know you love them because you’re taking the time to communicate with them on a medium they live and breathe.
  • Don’t invite them to all of your favourite Facebook games.
What’s your best tip for other digital grandparents? Share your advice in the comments below.