Gransnet forums


first grandson lives abroad

(30 Posts)
xxxxxQRL Thu 22-Sep-22 16:29:58

Our son and DIL live on the opposite side of the world to us and have just had a baby boy who we will only see once a year (We will be visiting them in November) This is our first grandchild and as we're completely new to this we welcome any ideas and suggestions on how to connect with him!. Thanks in anticipation.......

Fleurpepper Thu 22-Sep-22 16:40:47

Zoom or Facetime- so he can hear your voice, see your face... when a few months old. So if you go in November, he will get used to voice and face, so keep it up as soon as you return, on regular basis.

DillytheGardener Thu 22-Sep-22 16:43:22

Hi! In the same position as you, although we completely missed their first years during the pandemic sadly.

WhatsApp video calls are our saviour!
When they are a little older, I found buy books in duplicate on Amazon, one for me and one for GC and dh I read stories to our GC on zoom /Facebook calls on my laptop, with mummy and daddy turning the pages for GC while we read.

I buy little bits and pieces that we have matching along with the books, such as stuffed animals, and we show each other our matching toys on calls. It helps to have something physical and tangible the child can see, they can connect with you through the toy or book.

BlueBelle Thu 22-Sep-22 17:36:45

My first grandchild and then another, live in NZ and I don’t have the money to visit regularly so I ve only see them about every 5 years
Strange all 7 of my grandkids were born overseas although 2 now live in my same street ❤️
It is what it is and you just have to find other means…. you are very very lucky if you are going to be seeing them every year and the other grans have given you excellent tips of how to keep in touch
I didn’t have the FaceTime option (25years ago) but life takes you where it takes you these grandkids have the other gran and grandad live in the next street to them in NZ so I knew from the start I would be the ‘other Nan’

Hithere Thu 22-Sep-22 17:53:21

It is not unusual for a son or daughter's family to live abroad

I would recommend to follow the parents' guidance plus age appropriate activities.

It may take a year or so for a proper interaction online- when gc is older

Yammy Thu 22-Sep-22 17:54:34

BlueBelle, I admire your very positive approach and agree with all you say. My two GC were born abroad and I didn't see one until they were four because of circumstances.
You have to make the most of it. I was lucky and had Facetime but one of the GC never liked it or engaged in any talk.
Now they are back and lived at the other end of the country near their other grandparents and are getting too old to want to talk to Gran. I accept and know I will never spend Christmas or Easter with them, sad but a fact. You just have to make the most of when you do see them

BlueBelle Thu 22-Sep-22 22:56:32

Thank you Yammy we sound similar you are right you have to accept it and make the most of what you’ve got it’s not what I expected but you want your children to be happy and it’s their lives and their choices so you start off crying in the bathroom and smiling outside it and after a little while, acceptance overtakes and you are just happy they are happy

aislingwhite Thu 22-Sep-22 23:30:19

Hi I was happy to see this thread as I will become a new Grandparent early next year and my son and his partner live abroad close to her family. I want to ensure that I have a positive input in my Grandchilds life even at a distance and to be able to support my son and his partner. I would welcome any tips/suggestions for reading or websites I can look at. Thank you

Shelflife Fri 23-Sep-22 00:18:46

So refreshing to read how positive GPs are when their loved GC are so far away , I applaud your sensible attitudes. Our AC and GC all live within easy reach so we are very fortunate. I like to think if any of them moved overseas I would follow your example - well done all of you.

LOUISA1523 Fri 23-Sep-22 08:03:19


BlueBelle, I admire your very positive approach and agree with all you say. My two GC were born abroad and I didn't see one until they were four because of circumstances.
You have to make the most of it. I was lucky and had Facetime but one of the GC never liked it or engaged in any talk.
Now they are back and lived at the other end of the country near their other grandparents and are getting too old to want to talk to Gran. I accept and know I will never spend Christmas or Easter with them, sad but a fact. You just have to make the most of when you do see them

My 3 lost interest in my mum as teenagers but now, the older 2 at 31 and 28 are very much part of her life ....she lives 2 hours away and they often pop over for the day with their young children.....she also spends every Christmas and Easter with us all....maybe yours are just going thru that teenage ( and beyond) stage ...and they will be back along when they've grown up a bit

xxxxxQRL Tue 27-Sep-22 12:54:18

aislingwhite, it's an exciting time and , like you, we want to be part of our grandson's life as much as possible without feeling we are interfering with their day to day life (time difference makes it a little more complicated). Where is your son? Are you able to visit or do they visit the UK? Our son and DIL live near her family so they have support and grandson has cousins nearby. We're lucky we are able to visit them soon and can't wait!

xxxxxQRL Tue 27-Sep-22 12:55:27

Thank you for all your comments and suggestions.

aislingwhite Sun 29-Jan-23 20:47:25

Hi xxxxxQRL sorry to be so late to respond! How did your trip to see your grandson go? I hope you were able to have lots of cuddles. And how are you managing ongoing contact? My son is in Canada and there is a 5 hour time difference which I know is better than some. Our Grandson is due in March so we're super excited but I'm anxious about how it'll be as I'm super emotional at the best of times!

Wendlee Mon 13-Mar-23 19:53:03

Hello everyone . I am new to the forum but hoping to learn lots and contribute where I can! You all sound really lovely and give sensible advice .

I am looking forward to my first grand child, due later this year. I'm totally buzzing to be honest ! I had been waiting for this moment since I retired 3 years ago ;-)

My boys are 31 and 29 and I accept lots of things have changed a lot since my day . I won't be butting in with 'advice' for sure !

My 'problem' is this ....My eldest son and his partner (both French) live in Australia ( I live in France) We will certainly go over to meet our grandchild ( after checking when we will be needed rather than dashing over !) and my son and his partner will no doubt visit during the summer holidays but there will still be long stretches where we won't get to see each other face to face .

Have any other grandparents been faced with this ? How have you managed to stay part of your grandchild's life ?

Just to add to this message ... yes WhatsApp video calls are a life line .I think I just don't know how I am going to adjust to this new experience. I truly am happy that my son has made a new life for himself and his partner and it's not about me but .... this is very new to me .

Many thanks for sharing your experience

BlueBelle Mon 13-Mar-23 20:14:18

Read the other posts before yours wendlee there’s not many but it will answer some of your questions

Wendlee Mon 13-Mar-23 20:23:00

Yes, many thanks for the tip BlueBelle. I am just trying to find my bearings navigating the forums and sometimes getting it wrong ;-)

Hithere Mon 13-Mar-23 20:46:53

You stay in your gc's life by interacting with his/her parents

BlueBelle Mon 13-Mar-23 21:04:27

That’s fine wendlee some people have their kids / grandkids in the same street some have them on the other side of the world, it is what it is and we just need to get on with life in however way our kids know is right for them
You will learn to live with it (if you are wise ) This year I should see my son for the first time in seven years it’s bitter/ sweet I want to see him but then I have to say goodbye so soon and it hurts. of course it does, but you put on your armadillo shell and smile when you say goodbye and cry afterwards
It will get easier and become the norm xx

Wendlee Mon 13-Mar-23 21:06:52

Totally agree Hithere. Thank you.
I also just found reference on the forum for an app called Moment Garden which sounds interesting for getting regular updates but maybe WhatsApp does that already with photos and video calls ?

Hithere Mon 13-Mar-23 22:44:30

You don't really need a special app for getting regular updates

What is your concept of regular? Is it the same frequency as the sender (your son)?
Beware of expectations

Wendlee Tue 14-Mar-23 11:59:29

I don't really have any expectations Hithere . I will just go with the flow and not put any pressure on anyone.

BlueBelle I understand how tough it is . I saw my family in the UK for the first time in 2 years after Covid.We had a family reunion and my son came over from Australia .I hadn't seen him for 3 years.Special times .

Enjoy and make the most of your time with your son BlueBelle and try not to think of the moment when you have to say goodbye.

grannyactivist Tue 14-Mar-23 14:50:08

I have a granddaughter who was born in NZ; she will be eight years old next weekend and I’ve only seen her three times in the flesh. However I think we have a lovely, close relationship thanks to regular FaceTime calls, letters, cards and parcels. Plus lots and lots of shared WhatsApp messages and photo’s.

I’m looking forward to seeing my NZ daughter and her family this summer as they’re planning a visit home and I know the time will be spent furthering my relationship with my granddaughter.

ElaineI Tue 14-Mar-23 19:10:04

FaceTime and WhatsApp are great but remember the attention span of toddlers and young children is short and they wander off. Even DGD at six wanders off after about 3 minutes. Her brother at 9 now has long conversations. (They only live 25 minutes away but still like to do this).

aislingwhite Thu 16-Mar-23 11:29:13

Hi Wendlee My son is 33 and lives in Canada (I’m in the UK). My first Grandchild (a boy) was born there just 2 weeks ago. Before he was born I had some down days thinking that I am going to miss out and not see him grow up. I’ve always had a close relationship with my son and that hasn’t changed despite him being abroad for about 6 years. Since my Grandson was born my son has facetimed or Whatsapp’d every day and sent lots of videos and photos which has been wonderful. I at least feel as if I’m involved and seeing the changes in my Grandson day by day. I know this will drop off once my son is back at work as he won’t have the same time but I’m positive we’ll settle into some sort of routine with contact that suits us both. In some ways having some distance in these first days has allowed me to observe and be supportive but not make comment about what I would do (or did when he was a baby) which I’m sure I would have done if I’d have been on the doorstep!
I retired 2 years ago and it has given me the freedom to go to see him when I want to (although obviously money is a consideration). I’m hoping to go in 2 or 3 weeks and stay for 3 weeks. I’ll base myself with them but will take myself off to do a bit of sightseeing for a couple of nights here and there to give them a break from me! My sons partner is lovely and has a very supportive family who love my son. I have felt pangs of jealousy but try to deal with this in various ways, mainly being grateful that my son and (and now grandson) have such wonderful people in their lives. Sometimes though I do have a good cry and get it out of my system.
It's early days and I really feel that it helps me not to try to look too far ahead, just focus on the here and now. Also to try and appreciate what I do have and not what I might be missing. Good luck with everything and if you ever want to chat feel free to message me, none of my friends are in this situation and can’t really understand. I get a little frustrated when people are “sympathetic” when I tell them my Grandson is in Canada though I know they are trying to be kind so try to bite my tongue!

NannyB2604 Sun 26-Mar-23 09:46:50

Hi all. I've posted on here before about having a granddaughter (our one and only, and 100% likely to remain that way) who was born and lives in South Korea (DiL is Korean). It was hard for the first few years (she's nearly 9 now) but we now have a lovely relationship with her. Fortunately for us, except for the 2 years of the pandemic) she's been able to visit once or twice a year with one or both parents and before Covid we visited them. All I'd say is don't be discouraged if FaceTime or Zoom don't work out too well in the early years. It can, and does, get better and we've now become grateful for whatever means of contact is available. Wishing you all the very best