G-Harmony: tips for strong grandparent relationships
Keeping a strong relationship between your children and your parents is an important yet challenging task. If your family is one of the thousands separated by hundreds of miles, you understand just how difficult keeping these family connections can be. We’ve compiled some tips that will help your loved ones stay close.
1. Visit as often as possible
There is nothing better than spending real face-to-face time with your family. This helps create strong, long-lasting bonds. However, we realize that between busy work schedules and financial strains, visiting trips can be difficult, and are usually reserved for the holidays or special anniversaries. For situations where time or finances don’t allow in-person visits, our next suggestion might well be the best solution.
2. Take advantage of technology
Not too many years ago, the closest-to-live communication option available was telephone. Technological advances such as Skype, have changed this for good. You’re now able to connect your children with their grandparents on real time by having a video chat conversation. All you need is a webcam on your computer and speakers, which most computers have built in. Skype also has games that allow your children to further interact with their grandparents, adding a fun element to the call. Also, you can use the time they’re video-chatting to complete any other errands that you might have pending around the house!
3. Find a mutual interest
The age gap between your children and your parents may be significant, but that doesn’t mean they won’t find any mutual interests. Make it your mission to find things your children and parents have in common and can enjoy together. Does your dad have a passion for cars? You can let your child know that his grandfather shares his same interest, and create an ongoing conversation about it. Before you know it, they will be looking forward to speaking to each other regarding the topics they have in common. It also helps kids understand that their grandparents were once young, and they are filled with interesting stories and experiences.
4. Schedule a time to talk or hang out
Scheduling a set time to talk on the phone, video chat or hang out in person, will guarantee your family the bonding time they need. If your parents live close by and are retired, the scheduled time can be once or twice a week, after your child gets off school, or during the weekend. If your parents live far away, you can schedule a time to talk on the phone before bedtime. It’s important to schedule a time where your child won’t feel in a hurry to go play outside, or has another seemingly pressing issue. This way their focus will be on enjoying communication time with their grandparents.
5. Spend summers together
If your parents are retired or work from home, having your children spend part of the summer with them is a great way to build their relationships through activities. Your father or mother can show your child how to fish, build a canoe, or even teach how to plant and upkeep a garden.
6. Engage in fun activities
Have you heard the phrase “the family that plays together, stays together?” This can be easily applied to fun activities as well. If your children are in the development stages where everything revolves around fun, help them realize that their grandparents can be fun as well by finding fun activities for them to engage in. Taking a cooking class together, going on a camping trip or enjoying a baseball game are all great activities that will create a fun, strong bond between your family members and keep them in good health!
Finding ways to keep your children emotionally and physically connected to their grandparents is important. Follow these tips and your children will thank you for a lifetime!