Sophia loves talking about fashion and weddings and travel, but she can also easily kick ass with a thousand-word article about the latest marketing and business trends, finance-related topics, and can probably even whip up a nice heart-warming article about family life. She can totally go from fashion guru to your friendly neighborhood cat lady with mean budgeting skills and home tips real quick.
Knowing their grandchildren value their advice and company makes the grandparents feel appreciated and needed. The desire to stay present in their grandchildren’s lives encourages them to stay active and educated in issues that matter to the younger generation. Spending time with their grandchildren and doing activities together boosts their brain function, keeps them mentally and physically healthy, and increases their lifespan.
Here are some of the many ways you can help strengthen the bond between your children and their grandparents.
Let them spend quality time together
What’s important is that grandparents and their grandkids get to have time together, connecting and building beautiful memories—whether it’s on a boat in the middle of the lake or over a cup of cocoa in Grandma’s kitchen. It’s a time where they get to give their undivided attention, listening to each other’s stories and simply enjoying each other’s company.
For parents, you’re not only giving your children and their grandparents a time to bond and build their special relationship, but you also give yourself a chance to run errands and deal with your other commitments without your little ones in tow. Moreover, you get to enjoy some alone time as husband and wife.
Take a road trip
However, if settling down in the grandparents’ hometown is not an option, you must find ways for your children to know and bond with their grandparents despite the miles between them. Make it a priority to arrange regular family trips to Grandpa and Grandma’s. You can pack up your kids for an overnight stay, or they can spend a longer time at their grandparents over spring break.
You can also start a tradition your children and their grandparents can look forward to. Schedule a yearly summer escape at a cozy beachfront cottage where they can take walks along the beach, build sandcastles, or visit ice-cream parlors and check out artisan shops in the village.
Use technology for long distance love
If the grandparents are not fond of texting because they find pressing the small keypad on their smartphone frustrating and time-consuming, they will surely appreciate video chats that let them both hear and see their grandkids. They can even show their surroundings and what they’re doing. You can let Grandpa watch your son’s soccer game live, and your little girl can watch how Grandma bakes her chocolate chip cookies.
You can share online photo albums, play virtual games, draw pictures, exchange recipes, listen to music from different decades, watch movies together, and more. There are so many ways for your kids and their grandparents to maintain a fun and interactive relationship. Make it a routine to communicate regularly. That way, if you need to move to a different state or even a different continent, everyone can keep in touch and maintain a strong bond.
Learn from each other
Grandparents can learn from children, too. Kids are incredibly tech-savvy, and they can teach their grandparents how to use their mobile devices. They can help set up their grandparents’ social media accounts or even an online business page if their grandparents want to sell their baked goods or potted succulents. Your teenage kids can act as a personal concierge and use their skills to help their grandparents organize activities and social events, use graphic design platforms to create posters and send virtual invites to neighbors and friends.
David B. Younger, Ph.D. is the creator of Love After Kids, for couples that have grown apart since having children. He is a clinical psychologist and couples therapist with a web-based private practice and lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, 17-year-old son, 7-year-old daughter and 9-year-old toy poodle.