Whether due to work and school busy schedules or geographical distance (or both), often children in the modern world do not get to see their grandparents very often and, even if they do, they may not get the opportunity to spend much quality time together. This can be a real shame for the whole family as there is something uniquely valuable about the bond between grandchild and grandparent. A grandparent is not only another positive role model who can provide focused attention and an extra level of love and affection for your child, but they are also a connection to their heritage and family history.
In addition, if your child is able to stay overnight at their grandparent’s house they can gradually ease any anxiety about being separated from mom and dad before they start venturing to friend’s home for sleepovers. If you would like to develop and strengthen the bond between your children and their grandparents, here are some ideas to help.
Arrange visits as often as you can
If you live in the same area as your child’s grandparents, try to make time for short regular visits to ensure they are a ‘normal’ part of everyday life. These visits should take place in both homes. If their grandparents live out of town try to arrange visits as often as you can. If there is a long gap between each visit, try to build anticipation by planning your next visit with them so they see the visits as special.
Use technology to stay in touch
Technology enables us to stay in touch with our loved ones no matter where we are in the world. Whether you make phone calls, video calls, text messages, sound files or emails you should keep the lines of communication open. If the grandparents are not comfortable with technology, consider getting them a user-friendly Jitterbug cell phone which is designed for seniors. Alternatively, record the grandparent reading one of their favorite bedtime stories and play it for the child so it is like they are in the room with them.
Put up lots of photographs
Display lots of photos of the grandparents around your home and draw your child’s attention to them when you talk about the grandparents or a special memory. You could also create a family photograph album to flick through and remind your child of everyone’s names.
The older generations and children love to receive a letter through the mail, so why not make it a monthly ritual to sit down and write a letter to the grandparents telling them everything you have been up to as a family? You could write short and simple postcards or long letters with pictures, but if your child can physically write it as well as come up with what they want to say they will also be practicing their writing skills.
Find a hobby or interest they can share
Everyone has a skill, interest or hobby which they enjoy and would like to share with their family. If they can pass their skills and knowledge onto the next generation they may be able to develop a shared hobby and a bond which will last forever.