No matter if your parents live near or far, if you have kids, you probably want them to have a relationship with their grandparents. This relationship not only gives them another connection to their past, but it opens up a special tie they can’t get anywhere else.
If you don’t live near your parents, fostering a relationship between them and your kids can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible.
With the incorporation of advanced technologies, like a senior alert system or an iPad, grandma and grandpa can be safe at home and have the opportunity to connect to their whole family no matter where they live.
In other words, they no longer have to live down the street to stay close to you and your kids.
Here are some ideas to help your child build a lifelong relationship with your parents.
Texting is quick and a convenient way to send a quick note, but having your kids exchange letters with their grandparents holds a special meaning. The great thing about this idea is that your children can save these letters as priceless mementos.
Even if their grandparents live close by, it’s exciting to send letters through the mail and receive letters in return. Each letter will bring them closer together.
Have your kids pick out some fun stationery and stamps, get them some scented pens, and let them write. You might have to help them get started, but when they receive their first letter, they’re hooked.
If your parents do live within driving distance, having Sunday dinner at your house or theirs will give your kids an opportunity to get to know their grandparents. You don’t want your kids to just see them as the older people they see at Christmas’ and birthdays, but as loving caregivers, friends, and confidants.
For the children whose grandparents live far away, have dinner together over video chat. You’re still conversing and breaking bread together, which solidifies a bond in any relationship.
Creating a weekly habit, like a meal, will help your kids see your parents as a stable part of their lives, no matter the distance between them.
Grandparents are the keepers of stories, and what better way for your kids to bond with your parents than through storytelling? In addition to the stories they have about raising you, they also lived a life before you were born.
Plus, they likely hold the stories of their parents and their grandparents, and sharing those stories with your kids is a treasure. Like any oral tradition, the hope is that they’ll remember these stories and pass them on to future generations.
We mentioned video chat regarding Sunday dinners, but you don’t have to limit Skype or Facetime to meals. Encouraging your kids to talk to their grandparents on the phone grows their relationship, but seeing each other’s faces builds a stronger bond between them. If grandparents have a tough time with zoom or their computer audio look into the best hearing aids so they can have clearer conversations. When its seamless to hop on a chat to catch up both your kids and grandparents will want to do it more often!
Some apps you can use for your kids and their grandparents include:
- Messenger kids
- Google Hangouts
Your Parents Are Living History
Your children might not realize it now, but they will cherish the relationships they grow with their grandparents for the rest of their lives. The work you do now to foster that relationship strengthens their bond and, ultimately, your entire family.
That said, the relationship between your children and your parents has to be a two-way street. Any healthy relationship has an even ebb and flow, including one with your parents. If all parties are willing, plant the seeds now and watch it expand your family tree.