Being a Distance Grandparent by Helen Ellis

Being a Distance Grandparent

Being a Distance Grandparent

RRP NZ$38.00

An invaluable book for families scattered around the globe written by a New Zealand researcher, writer, anthropologist and veteran of Distance Grandparenting.

Is your family geographically scattered? Has globalisation made your family a Distance Family? This book tells the candid story of how Distance Parents and Distance Grandparents struggle – and succeed – to adapt to their new reality. This isn’t family life as they had imagined it.

If you are a Distance Parent or Distance Grandparent, all those how, why and what-if questions will find answers in these pages. You’ll realise, perhaps for the first time, that you’re not alone on your journey. Helen Ellis examines everything from smart ways of tweaking your communication routines to tips for nourishing precious family relationships. These moving stories will soothe and inspire you, and more importantly, help you embrace your ever-changing Distance Family role.

With knowledge comes understanding… with understanding comes empathy… and that is a good thing for Distance Families.

“In our mobile world, more young people are growing up in communities and countries away from their grandparents and extended family. In this fascinating book, a distance grandparent discusses the hot topics related to addressing grief, building emotional resilience, supporting distance children and grandchildren, handling rituals, navigating the uncertainty of ageing and more. As a physician and parent who has raised children around the globe, this book provides thoughtful advice for those who are navigating cultures, moves and generations.” Dr Anisha Abraham, paediatrician, and author of Raising Global Teens: Parenting in the 21st Century.

Kate from our office says; “As a mum with family spread all over the world, I found this book to be an invaluable resource for tips and advice on how to make sure my children feel connected to all of their family.”


Helen Ellis is a New Zealand researcher, writer, anthropologist and a veteran of Distance Grandparenting. Three of her four children and five of her six grandchildren live 16 to 30 flight hours away in America, England and Scotland.

In her research she asked the question: “How is distance grandparenting for you?” As a Distance Grandparent of more than 20 years, she has well and truly got the T-shirt. Her book, Being a Distance Grandparent – a Book for ALL Generations, combines that experience with her extensive global research. Helen feels passionately that Distance Parents and Distance Grandparents deserve a voice and has single-handedly and doggedly taken on that role. Her goal is to support each generation to understand how it is for the other.

“With understanding comes empathy and this can only do good as we all gingerly navigate the oftentimes challenging social phenomenon of distance families,” she explains.

This is the first of a three-book series about distance families – each publication focussing on a different generation (grandparents, sons and daughters, and grandchildren). Helen encourages all generations to read all three books.


For your chance to win one of two copies of ‘Being a Distance Grandparent’, head over to our competition page.