Using email is my favorite way to stay in contact with my family and grandchildren.
I love the way it is instant when you need it to be, but also non-invasive, in that they can read your emails whenever they want to.
They are not tied down to a certain day and time as they are with phoning. I would still recommend sending an email at least once a week.
Email can be used for serious letters, cheer-up letters, fun stuff such
as jokes and riddles, even games.You can send favourite recipes, URLs of
interesting web sites and so much more.
If your far-away family has a scanner, they can scan some of your grandchildrens' drawings, or schoolwork that they are proud of, and share it with you.
Using email to send digital photos is a snap, and even conventional photos can be scanned and sent. You can almost feel you are there with them at Halloween when they are all dressed up, or at their birthday parties.
Another way of contacting your grandchildren is with e-cards. While I think that important occasions should be marked with real cards, e-cards can be fun any time of year. This Halloween I sent both my grandchildren e-cards. One had a scary haunted house with ghosts, bats,zombies and witches popping out of doors as you clicked on them. The other was a game, shooting ghosts with arrows! (I know, I'm not fond of shoot-em-up games either, but this was pure fantasy and pretty innocuous). There are e-cards for just about any occasion, some free, others have a small fee.
I recently bought myself a little video camera, a PureDigital Flip Camcorder. I love it. It is small enough to carry in your pocket or purse and just about foolproof. Mine records for half an hour, but one-hour models are available and still very inexpensive. Flip Video Ultra Series Camcorder, 60-Minutes (White) My grandson loves animals, so when the raccoons come calling, or we have deer in our back yard, I video them, download onto my computer, and send him a copy.
How quickly the Internet - and our grandchildren, change! These days
they communicate almost exclusively by Facebook. If you are lucky enough
that they "friend" you, you will have an open book on their lives!
I feel that I know most of my granddaughter's friends from their posts -
the girls love to post pictures. Less so my grandson's friends who seem
to communicate entirely in shorthand slang!
Then there is Skype - the best invention yet in my book. Strangely, the kids don't seem to have taken to it, but I love to talk to my cousin in England. We spend ages chatting about our grandchildren, who are very close in ages. We compare notes (they have an awful lot of homework over there!), and since both of us have one special-needs grandchild, we give each other support and a listening ear.