Family dynamics have certainly changed over the years. In the past, families would generally stay closer together, whether it meant three generations living in the same house or at least in the same neighborhood.
Although family living situations have evolved, the relationship between a grandparent and grandchild is still something precious for both parties. For the grandparents, having their grandchild around would keep them active as well as mentally sharp. It lessens their loneliness and brings a sense of joy. For the grandchildren, they can learn how to care for others and learn valuable life lessons.
Closing the gap between younger and older generations helps improve the general social acceptance of those who are aging, and it will bring your family closer! Here’s how to foster your child’s relationship with their grandparents.
Frequently Set Up Grandparent/Grandchild Time
Grandparents who can spend time with your child frequently will foster a better relationship between the two. Like with any relationship, the more time you spend with one another, the more you can learn and appreciate the other person.
When you start taking your child to visit their grandparents or encourage your parents to visit your children, you’ll notice a strengthened bond between the two — making that time intentional will be best. Start the grandparent and grandchild time from when your child is young. They can grow with their grandparents throughout the years and will ask to visit grandma and grandpa!
Move Closer to Their Grandparents
Proximity often hinders the relationship between a grandparent and grandchild. If you live far from your parents, then your children might not see their grandparents very often. Although moving closer to your parents or having them move closer to you isn’t always an option, it does help foster a better relationship.
Physical closeness can help make the relationship stronger, but if that’s not feasible, you can count on technology. Many people have chosen to use video calls to talk to grandparents due to COVID-19. It’s better to see someone’s face through a video than not be able to see them at all!
Encourage Your Child to Send Notes and Drawings
Although it’s old-school, it’s what your child’s grandparents are used to — getting physical mail! When your kids are younger, they can draw pictures or write small notes to their grandparents. Your parents will love receiving something that their grandchildren put effort into because it reflects thoughtfulness.
As your children grow older, they can handwrite letters and cards to their grandparents. Your children will love getting to know their grandparents through letters, and they’ll be surprised every time they get a letter back in the mail from grandma or grandpa. When they’re able to see each other in person, it’ll make the reunion so much sweeter after a few weeks or months of letter-writing.
When you set aside time for your parents and children to spend time with each other, encourage them to share their hobbies and interests. They each might find something new that they enjoy doing! Though times have changed, they might find that they have common interests.
Each time they visit each other, they should choose a new activity to complete. Try to eliminate other distractions so they can focus on each other and spend time together. It might be cooking, working on a puzzle, watching a sports game or going out to enjoy nature. Their bond will continue to grow as they find more things to do together.
Invite the Grandparents to Your Child’s Events
If your child is in a musical group, sports team or any other activity that has events, encourage your parents to watch their grandchildren. Make it a surprise for your children. When they look out into the crowd and see their grandparents’ faces, they’ll be excited and so thankful that someone they love is there to watch them perform!
Make sure you invite your parents to family events as well, like a backyard barbeque or even for dinner once in a while. The more opportunities your parents have to support your children will foster a closer connection between them.
Have Your Kids Help Their Grandparents
Finally, you can foster your child’s relationship with their grandparents by encouraging them to help their grandparents. Grandparents sometimes require assistance with different activities, like basic chores, taking a pet for a walk or simply talking with them to combat loneliness.
Older adults are often grateful for the help, especially if it comes from their grandchildren. If you live a long distance from your parents, you can have your children call them occasionally or have them help your parents with technology. There’s always something for your children to help their grandparents with!
There’s Nothing Like a Bond Between a Grandchild and Their Grandparents
With these tips, your children and parents will become best friends in no time. They’ll benefit from the time they spend together in so many ways. Encourage that relationship as much as possible for a unique bond that closes a generational gap.