DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have discovered a terrific way to maintain a close long-distance relationship with our grandchildren who live several thousand miles away.
Kyle is 5 and Sarah is 3. Their attention spans are not yet long enough to allow extended phone conversations between visits, so we came up with the following idea. It works not only for the grandchildren and for us, it also gives their parents a break.
On the weekends, my husband and I visit our local bookstore and buy two identical "easy-reader" books. We keep one and send the other to the grandkids. Then, on a designated night each week, we call just before bedtime and read them their "night-night" story. Both children are snuggled in bed -- one with the bedroom phone and the other with a cordless phone. The children can read along with us because they have the same book we have.
After the story, the kids are eager to talk about it and other things.
We know that Kyle and Sarah go to bed at least one night a week secure in the knowledge that they are loved by their grandparents as well as their parents. An added bonus that should not be overlooked is that they are developing a love of books as well. -- CONNIE SAMPSELL, OVERLAND PARK, KAN.
DEAR CONNIE: You and your husband have come up with a wonderful method of building a strong relationship with your grandchildren and a clever means of building literacy. I congratulate you both.