It can be hard for grandparents to connect with their grandchildren, even though they love their grandchildren. Maybe you live far apart from each other or you live close but think you have nothing in common. Here are some things you can do to connect with grandchildren in meaningful ways:
Call/Text/Video Chat. It’s easy to stay connected with the help of technology. Set up regular calls or video chats to keep in touch with your grandkids. Send them a text to let them know you’re thinking about them.
Spend time with your grandkids individually. Don’t wait for birthdays to spend individual time with your grandkids and don’t rely on big family gatherings to build close bonds. Take them to lunch or dinner, host a game night, make a meal together, or have them spend the night or weekend at your house.
Get involved in your grandkids’ activities and hobbies. Your grandkids are probably involved in lots of things. Go to their plays, recitals, or sports games. You may discover you have common interests.
Introduce them to your hobbies and interests. Don’t assume your grandkids won’t be interested in your hobbies. Take this opportunity to potentially introduce them to something new. Teaching them one of your skills can provide another way to spend time with them. For example, if you love to cook, share a recipe and cook it with them. If you play an instrument, play one of your favorite songs for them. Ask them to help you pick vegetables or flowers if you have a garden.
Make your visits pleasant. Prioritize spending time with them over anything else. Don’t make them dread visiting you by making them complete tasks around your house every time they visit. They should help you if you need, but don’t make this the sole reason they come over. If you establish a loving relationship with them, they will be more likely to happily help you with whatever you may need.
Be gracious about generational differences. Each generation is raised with different priorities and values. For example, many young people don’t write thank-you cards anymore. It doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate a gift; it just means they just have other ways of expressing gratitude. Don’t let generational differences get in the way of a relationship with your grandkids.
Find common experiences. Though generational differences exist, there are plenty of universal experiences. Everyone experiences things like high school dances, dating, being nervous before taking tests, learning how to drive, etc. Find common experiences with your grandkids and tell them about what these experiences were like for you. They’ll learn more about you and it will help them see that you’re not so different from them after all.
Be yourself. Don’t be afraid to be yourself around your grandkids, even if you think they may only want to be around someone who is “cool.” They’ll appreciate your authenticity, and you’ll be much more relaxed around them. Have fun with them!
Share your story. Many people regret never asking their grandparents about their lives. Having your story written down will someday be invaluable to your grandchildren. Document your memories and share your story with your grandchildren.
Are you ready to learn more about preserving your loved one's life story?