It's kind of old fashioned these days but email is still a pleasant way of keeping in touch. If you are in the least bit literary, it will be good for him to receive nicely crafted emails with news and gossip from back home. It is important for him to hear and be able to reflect on your opinions about issues and events. Email handles that kind of communication extremely well.
It's always a treat to hear a loved one's voice. He'll have his cellphone with him, of course, but probably will have restrictions on when he can use it. So work out a regular time to call which is convenient with him. Don't be a pest. Ask if he is busy. Boarding school schedules can be very hectic at times.
Tip: turn off the Auto-correct feature on your smartphone. That will save you much embarrassment. If you use the microphone to dictate your messages, check the message before sending it. Make sure that you are sending it to the right person. Also make sure that nothing in your message could be misconstrued or gives offense.
I know. Facebook! You hate it. You love it. But your grandchild's generation doesn't know much else. So, grit your teeth and learn how to create your own Facebook page. Load it with all the photos you can find. He'll spend hours poring over his 1st birthday party photos though he might not admit it to you directly. Facebook is a terrific way to illustrate your family tree and show your grandchildren where they fit in. All those stories about your travels come to life when he can see the pictures and view the videos.
Are you ready for more social media? The kids love Twitter. Many of them actually prefer it to Facebook. He will probably use Twitter more than you will. The point is that you will be able to stay in touch by following his Tweets.
1. Don't post comments on every one of your grandchild's Facebook posts. Use common sense. You really don't want to embarrass him. I find that a 'Like' is often the appropriate response to a post. Of course, if your grandchild is posting about some accomplishment or achievement, gush away. That's what we grandparents do best. If you prefer, you can always post a laudatory post on your own Facebook page. That way only your friends will see it. Not his. Another way of accomplishing pretty much the same thing is to Share his original post on your Timeline. Experiment and see what works best for you. The important thing is not to embarrass him with silly comments on his Facebook page.
2. Don't post or share jokes unless they are absolutely sweet and harmless. The kind of jokes a 3rd grader would appreciate.
3. Configure your Facebook settings so that they are as private as possible. I personally do not care to know where my Facebook friends are or have been unless, of course, they specifically post something about where they have been. Not sure how to configure your Facebook privacy settings? Your grandchild can show you what to do.
Skype and Facetime
Skype is a great way for you to visit with your grandchild. This free video call service has been around since 2003. The software is freely available and easy to install. Just be careful to configure it so that you don't reveal any personal information you don't want to reveal. Skype is the perfect tool for long leisurely chats. The video is usually pretty clear allowing you the joy of seeing your beloved grandchild.
Depending on your budget, there are an unlimited number of gifts you can send your grandchild quickly and conveniently. That's what we grandparents do, isn't it? Send our grandkids money. They love to receive it. We love to give it. The simplest way is to just send him money via transfer from your bank account. It usually costs nothing and is done in a flash. It is also secure unlike sending cash in an envelope.
Actual physical visits to his school can get a bit tricky. Try your best to plan a visit around a weekend when the school is not in the midst of exams or some other major academic project. Be there for a major game or attending opening night of the school play or to hear his violin solo in the chamber music concert. He will be so thrilled you made the effort to come.
Enjoy being a grandparent. Be proud of your grandchildren. Enjoy them. The only thing better is being a great-grandparent.