Some of us have grandkids who are away at college. Naturally, we want to stay in touch. We may even expect that contact to be as close and regular as it was when they were youngsters living with their parents. And yet we may be disappointed that our in-college grandkids are a little more distant now. They don't answer every text, email or direct message we send them. When we don't get a reply we may be disappointed--even frustrated. And that begs the question: What are the rules of the road here?
One suggestion is to lower expectations: We may want our communications to be back and forth but our grands are making new friends, going to challenging classes, trying out for teams or clubs and, of course, studying and partying hard. Their lives are full and full of new responsibilities. A daily e-chitchat with their grandparent? Maybe it's an additional pressure they don't need right now.
That doesn't mean we have to stop our end of the conversation, but we can take the pressure off them to respond. The least-cliched bit of advice I came across in this regard was this simple suggestion (thank you Grand Magazine here and here): Tack an NNTR onto whatever it is you're sending. It stands for "no need to reply." It lets your grandchild/college student read (and delight) in your message without feeling guilty about not replying.
That leads to another tip: Let your emails or texts be something amusing, informative or newsie--a funny anecdote, a report on the whereabouts of one of their cousins, a link to research they may find useful for one of their courses.
Last piece of advice for now: You don't want to clog up their accounts or be in touch so often that, much as they love you, they groan to see it's a message from you, again--even though (and maybe especially if) it's a forward of a fwd of a series of jokes about aging that your friends are sending around.
Have you got any suggestions to add to this? Pop it in the comment box if you would.
art: grandparents by Suzanne Jackson