Not Seeing Your Grandchildren

How To Cope With Not Seeing Your Grandchildren


John E Chambers
August 29, 2021

Many things can lead to being separated from your grandchildren.

It could be due to a conflict with the parents, a global pandemic, or distance due to work conditions.

Regardless of the reason for separation, knowing how to cope with not seeing your grandchildren can keep mental health issues at bay.

This article will help you with tips and tricks to manage the situation.

Many Seniors Live Away from their Grandchildren

when grandchildren comes

While the lure to live closer to your grandkids may be strong, understand that times have changed, and modernization makes it necessary for people to move far away from their families.

Many seniors no longer retire and live where their grandkids live, even if the desire to be near the children and grandchildren is strong.

Living near the grandkids shouldn’t be the only consideration for seniors considering where to stay in retirement. And forcing your children to live near you because of your grandkids certainly isn’t a brilliant move.

Potential Mental Stress and How to Deal with It

Knowing how to cope with not seeing your grandchildren involves dealing with the many not-so-pleasant emotions that can come up because of the situation. 

These emotions can take a toll on your mental health if you don’t take steps to sort out how you feel. Eventually, the can also affect your physical health.

Here are some common emotions that come with being separated from your grandkids and strategies to help you sort things out:

Shock and Anger


Shock is one of the first emotions you will likely feel if you are suddenly estranged from your grandkids. This is often followed by anger, especially if the parents of your grandchildren are in conflict with you.

How to handle this mental stress:

  • Understand that anger can make you behave in ways to worsen the situation. So, avoid any rash behavior in this state of mind.
  • Don’t bottle up the anger. Instead, talk to a counselor or a close friend.

Deep Grief and Guilt

You may beat yourself up for bad parenting, especially if your child (and not their spouse) is the one keeping your grandkids away from you. It is normal to experience grief and guilt and even think of yourself as a failure.

How to handle this mental stress:

  • Understand that grown children are responsible for their actions, and it may have nothing to do with your parenting.
  • Consider writing down your thoughts and feelings in a journal. This way, you can look back on them more objectively when you are more clearheaded and free yourself from the burden of taking the blame for things you can’t control.
  • If possible, try to work on the relationship with your child.


It is common to feel frustrated if you think that your grandchildren are kept away from you unjustly.

In some cases, it might be something you have done and your adult children are concerned about their own kids. In other cases, keeping the grandkids away from you might have nothing to do with you.

How to handle this mental stress:

  • Apologize for your error if you are at fault. Your relationship with your grandkids is far more important than your ego.
  • If you are not at fault after honestly evaluating the behavior, simply apologize and hope everything goes well.

Envy and Jealousy

senior woman writing letters to grandchildren

Being deprived of what you feel is your right has a way of turning your attention to others who are enjoying the same thing you can’t have. This can quickly lead to envy and jealousy.

For example, you can become very envious of your grandkids’ other grandparents if they are allowed to see them but not you.

How to handle this mental stress:

  • Think of what’s best for your grandchildren instead of making the situation only about you. Spending time with their other grandparents can prove to be emotionally healthy for your grandkids, even if they don’t get to spend time with you.
  • Stay out of competing with any other grandparents – after all, everyone wants the same thing for their grandchildren.


This is usually the last emotion that comes up if you’ve tried to resolve the situation but nothing seems to work out.

How to handle this mental stress:

  • Let go of the situation. Dwelling can affect your other relationships, and that’s not what you want.
  • Give your attention to more positive activities, regardless of whether they are not related to the situation at hand. This will help you live more happily even if the situation didn’t change.

How to Keep in Touch with Your Grandchildren, Even when Living Apart

Pushing against the glaring reality of your grandkids’ absence is not helpful. Instead, fighting reality can increase how terrible you feel.

A more positive and productive way to deal with the situation would be to find practical ways that not only soothe the hurt you feel but also make you feel their presence more, even when they live thousands of miles away from you.

Here are suggested steps for how to cope with not seeing your grandchildren:

Regular Video Calls

video calls

You may not be able to be together physically, but that doesn’t mean you can’t see them through video calls.

Smelling, touching, hugging, and other tactile sensations may be out of the question, but thanks to technology, you can see facial expressions, gestures, and hear each other as if you’re in the same room.

Take advantage of the many video conferencing apps, such as Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, and similar video chat programs to keep in touch with your grandchildren, regardless of whether they are halfway across the globe from you.

Instead of making haphazard video calls, you can make the most out of it by scheduling the calls. By planning the call and creating a routine, both you and your grandchildren will always look forward to the virtual time together.

But that’s not to dismiss the fun that surprise calls can bring, too! However, you want to keep your grandchildren’s and their parents’ (your children’s) family schedules in mind.  You honestly don’t want your children to put their lives on hold each time you show up on their screens without warning!

Okay, so what should you do on video calls? How will you make it any different and interesting than regular phone calls? Here are a few suggestions to keep things interesting:

  • Come up with creative ways to celebrate birthdays and holidays through video calls. You could also honor family traditions on video calls with the entire family.
  • Give your grandkids a tour of your home or where you’re visiting perhaps when you go on a vacation. You can also ask them to give you a tour of their new home if they have recently moved, or show you how their yard looks if the season has changed since the last time you saw their home.
  • Plan to send them a gift shortly. Make sure it is something they will love to have. Now, go ahead and give them a sneak peek during the video call. Your grandkids will be so excited you will almost literally feel their enthusiasm through the call.
  • Let your grandchildren show you something they’ve been working on and share a few tips that could help them complete the project more efficiently (if you know one or two things about the project). You can also show them a home repair project or a hobby you’ve been working on and share all the exciting details with them.

If you do this right, your grandkids will always look forward to spending quality time with you on video calls.

Perform Virtual Activities Together

Imagine all the activities you would spend time doing together if you were to visit your grandchildren in person. Now find ways to do some of those things virtually. This will work either on a video call or some software programs over the internet.

The following ideas should get you started:

  • Play games together on an app (it could be a word game, multiplayer action game, or something you know the kids will love).
  • Record your favorite songs in your voice and have your kids do the same thing with their favorite songs with the help of their parents. Share the audio files using any sharing program.
  • Take photos of the major activities you do for an entire week. Create a virtual photo album and share it with your grandchildren.

Consider a Pen pal Exchange

exchange letters with pen pal

If you are up for regular writing, starting a pen pal exchange can be a great way to cope with not seeing your grandchildren.

Pen pal communication may seem dated, especially in a world where you can get communicate instantly with just about anyone on the face of the planet. However, you can make this an interesting way for your grandkids to keep in touch if you play the right cards.

One of the tricks to keep the exchange going for as long as necessary is to always end your letter with a few questions. This will encourage them to reply to your letter.

Make sure to keep your letters interesting by sharing interesting stories. Don’t forget to prompt them to tell you a story or share amusing ideas with you in their reply.

Also, remember to keep the exchange age-appropriate. For example, you want younger grandkids to share their favorite foods but older kids will prefer to tell you about adventures. So, find ways to keep them interested in your letters, stories, and questions.


Your children have the right to live where they want, even if that means taking your grandchildren far away from you.

Allow yourself to feel sad but don’t dwell. Instead, follow one or more of the suggestions in this article to keep in touch with them.



John E Chambers

John E Chambers is an experienced financial advice expert. Born in Chicago, he has a master's in Industrial Finance, but he has spent decades offering investment advice to businesses and individuals alike. He is the founder of and wants the website to be valuable for retirement advice. In addition, he writes articles that help users jump-start their retirement plans and choose the best investment options. If not pondering over stock market statistics or reading some magazines, you can find John spending time with his family. As an early retiree, John also offers unique insights into what post-retirement life is like.