It is no secret that grandparents adore their grandchildren. And vice versa. The problem is with today’s nuclear families and so many families living and working overseas, there is a greater divide between grandparents and grandchildren than simply age.
While my kids live in the same country as their maternal grandparents, daily lives often get in the way of them seeing each other. They see their grandparents on special occasions like their birthdays or annual celebrations like Chinese New Year or Christmas. That, in my opinion, is not enough. And before you lament that I could take the initiative to ingratiate my kids into my parents’ lives, sometimes it is the grandparents who are too busy with their schedules to meet the grandkids. They see their paternal grandparents even less as they live in Pune, India.
As a growing child, my grandparents were people who seem very alien to me. And I only appreciated the value of our regular meetings, which my parents saw to, when I became an adult. The fond memories I have of my grandparents and the values they imprinted in me of my heritage and culture were invaluable. And it is this invaluable gift that I hope my kids will benefit in having a positive connection with their grandparents.
If you too are keen on helping your children have a relationship with their grandparents, here are some easy hacks that you can adopt.
1. Set aside a regular time for the grandparents and grandkids to meet.
This is important. Have regular/weekly meetups. If that is not possible, at least have a regular ritual. And if the grandparents live in another city, state or country, you can still set aside time for the grandparents to “meet” via Skype or Facetime.
2. Use technology to keep everyone connected.
Everyone (including grandparents and kids) owns a phone or computer these days. Take advantage of this. We have a family WhatsApp chat group that the grandparents and grandkids can text each other funny jokes or comment on each other’s post. It starts the “conversation” rolling and keeps both generations connected. Another way to use technology is by introducing grandparents to Facebook. We upload photos of the kids and keep them updated on the progress of the kids in school or their extracurricular activities.
3. Create activities they can do together.
- Introduce video games that your child can play with his/her grandparents like Sim City, Plants vs Zombies or Minecraft
- Have your kids interview their grandparents on video.
- Build a family tree.
- Invite grandparents to attend a special event at school. If that is not possible, go on day-trips in your area to your favorite museum or zoo.
- Everyone needs to eat. Nothing bonds like a good meal.
- Do something that both generations can enjoy such as scrapbooking, baking or even slime-making if grand is up for it.
4. Play a part in helping them build the connection
- Share your favorite memory of your parents with your kids and vice-versa to help them understand each generation better.
- Similarly, regular updates of grandparents and grandkids will offer each party conversation topics when they are with each other physically or over the phone.
- Share with them the common traits or talents that grandparents or grandkids have. You can elect to share only the positive traits. *wink*
- Have the grandkids make special cards for their grandparents to let them know they are loved and appreciated. Similarly, grandparents should be allowed to “spoil” their grandkids occasionally.
- Teach your kids words or phrases in the dialect of their grandparents help bridge their communication gap.
When Pooja from MumsandBabies asks if I want to share how I help my kids stay connected with their grandparents, I immediately say yes because I know how important this connection is for my kids. If you are searching for a reason to build the gap, then you should read this blog train.
Thank you Sharvi from Startmoms for introducing me in this blog train. Next up is mom blogger Amitoj Kaur from Tryingtobeasupermom. Amitoj is a dentist by profession and a proud SAHM to a 3-year-old boy. She believes in spending quality time with her son by trying to engage him in various creative activities. Being a voracious reader herself, she wishes to raise him to be a voracious reader too.