Children grow up fast and grandchildren grow up even faster. As a grandmother, you want to take full advantage of your golden years, but the generational gap between you and your grandchildren can be hard. True, you don’t have to change the diapers anymore, but you also may not get to see your grandchildren as often as you’d like, and when you are with them, it can be hard to know how to be close to them. Here are four important ways you can succeed in bonding with your grandchildren.
1. Support Their Interests
At a very early age your grandchildren are going to start taking interest in something or other. It’ll be dinosaurs, sea creatures, trucks, ninjas, cooking, drawing, something, and your grandkids’ interests are the keys to their hearts. As a grandparent it is only natural that you want to steer their attention towards the things you think will be most beneficial for them. But stop for a second and be sure to humor them in the interest they have found for themselves. Ask your grandson about his trading cards. Ask your granddaughter about her tap classes. Remember these things when you are picking out a birthday or Christmas gift. It is so important for children to feel like the adults in their lives care enough about them to care about them to take an interest in their interests. Once they know that you understand their interests, they will be more willing to explore yours. Sharing your favorite things with each other is ones of the best ways to bond.
2. Experience things with your grandchildren
It’s nice to visit “Grandma’s House”, but grandma doesn’t have to be defined by that space. Memories and experiences will often mean more to your grandchildren than gifts. The trick is to find the activities that will allow you to keep up with the little ones. Making and eating food together is good, but so is visiting a museum, a parade, performance, or an easy nature hike. Attending your grandchildren’s sporting and performing arts events counts. Swimming is great because it works as an all-ages friendly activity, where they can splash their energy out and you can float in the shallow end. Whether you look into the cost of an inground pool or passes for the local community pool, you could be summer’s coolest grandma. If you’re a regular community service gal, or not, take your grandchildren with you to do some volunteer work. Go help with their humanitarian projects too.
3. Write it out
Using all the tips above, when you find yourself separated by long distances from your grandchildren, write to them. Do you remember how exciting it was to get something in the mail as a kid? Write them short heartfelt letters asking them about their lives and telling them about yours. Be sure to include plenty of photographs, some comic strips, or funny images/memes you find online. Children nowadays have been trained by technology to look for and love short, fun, visual messages. Consider sending them a stamp and a dare that they can’t find and send you a better response.
4. Strengthen the family across the board
Family solidarity is so important for youngsters. The first thing to do is be on good terms with, speak well of, and respect the wishes of their parents. Tension between grandparents and parents confuses and stresses a child. On a happier note, one of the best things you can to do strengthen your family is tell your grandchildren the stories of your parents and grandparents. How did your family come to live where they do? Where do your family traditions come from? How did grandma meet grandpa? Children who know their families’ histories are more likely to believe in themselves, do well in school, and develop emotional maturity. Even the sadder and darker tales of your family history can be turned into teaching moments. Remember the pictures too! This is the perfect time to pull out the old family albums and your grandkids will actually pay attention! Coordinate with your children to plan how you can pass the family legacies down to the next generation.