This Grandma Found the Secret to Staying Close to Her Grandkids—Who Live 800 Miles Away

Updated: Mar. 25, 2022

The tech-savvy grandma will have you rethinking your family reunions, guaranteed.

Courtesy Giles Clasen

When it comes to gadgets and gizmos, this grandma is giving every iPhone-toting millennial a run for their money.

Lisa Carpenter felt both overjoyed and heartbroken when one of her daughters announced she was pregnant—but not for the reason you might think. Although she was excited to become a grandmother, her daughter’s family lived more than 800 miles away. Lisa knew that forming a relationship with her grandkids from afar would be difficult, and maybe even impossible. (This is how being a grandparent is good for your health.)

Courtesy Lisa Carpenter,

“They had our first grandson [Brayden] in 2008,” Lisa told Upworthy, “which was fabulous news when they announced the pregnancy but horribly hard on my heart as I simply could not comprehend how I would survive as a long-distance grandma.”

Courtesy Lisa Carpenter,

But Lisa didn’t back down from the challenge. Instead, she immediately got resourceful. Her methods of choice? Skype and FaceTime. (Screen time for your kids isn’t actually that bad, especially when it allows them to keep in touch with their grandparents. These are other reasons screen time’s not bad.)

Courtesy Lisa Carpenter, www.grandmasbriefs.comAlthough the family began with frequent calls via Skype, getting the kids to sit still for long periods of time was unrealistic. FaceTime became an easy way to talk to the kids while they moved around the house—for better or for worse.

“FaceTime is much easier,” Lisa said. “Now all three boys can take turns with the phone with Gramma and PawDad [the name one grandson gave his grandad when he got a bit mixed up trying to say grandpa]. Sometimes we see a lot of ceilings as they walk around the house talking, or they don’t quite get their faces on the screen and it’s an arm or belly we’re viewing.”

Courtesy Lisa Carpenter,

FaceTime gives Lisa an opportunity to help her daughter out, too. She can talk to the kids while their mother cooks dinner, or watch one child’s baseball game through the phone while her daughter handles the other little one.

Courtesy Lisa Carpenter,

As time goes on, Lisa has added new tech features to her repertoire. She’s used JibJab to send videos to the kids and AutoRap to remix their favorite songs. Lisa also blogs about her experience as a long-distance grandmother. While there are joys and frustrations, she couldn’t be more grateful that her daughter takes the time to keep her connected with the children.

Courtesy Lisa Carpenter,

According to Lisa, “Being able to stay in touch from afar is the only way I survive as a long-distance grandmother.”

And the perks go both ways! Here’s how you can use technology to help care for an aging parent.