Grandparents have a special place in the hearts of grandchildren, acting as confidant, teacher and mentor for grandkids. This special bond can have a positive impact on a child’s life well into their adulthood years. Here are five tips that can help you strengthen your relationship with them.
Be Open to Communication (With Their Parents, Too!)
Talk to your adult children about your desire to establish a consistent communication with their kids. Be open to their suggestions. You’ll also want to know more about your grandchildren’s interests so you can have engaging and genuine conversations. Once you have more information about hobbies and availability for chats, you can suggest a weekly or monthly time to connect and establish a relationship that can benefit you all.
While it’s wonderful to connect in person regularly, this isn’t always possible with everyone’s schedules. Instead, set up a weekly or monthly phone call or a video call via Zoom, Google Meet, Facetime or Skype. Always be sure to keep your adult children in the loop!
Spend Quality Time Together
How often grandparents should see their grandchildren varies. Some grandparents see their grandchildren weekly, while grandparents who live farther away might see their grandchildren less frequently. But spending quality time together is possible whether you’re in person or not.
How to spend quality time together virtually:
- Choose video chats over phone conversations. Seeing each other’s faces while talking can make it feel like you’re in the same place together even though you’re miles apart.
- Do activities together. Ask your grandchildren what their favorite activities are. See how you can do them virtually together. Popular virtual activities include escape rooms, chess games, charades and trivia.
How to spend quality time together in person:
- Go on a trip together. Whether you’re exploring a local neighborhood or visiting another country together, traveling is a great way to spend quality time with your grandchildren.
- Attend a live show. You can be your grandchildren’s introduction to the performing arts. Take them to see a musical, play or if their favorite musician is in town, offer to buy tickets to their concert.
- Teach them new skills. Do your grandchildren love when you cook? Teach them how to make your famous lasagna so they can continue your cooking legacy.
Practice Active Listening
Part of spending quality time — virtually or in person — involves active listening. This means when your grandchild is speaking you are engaged and participating in the conversation. You are making eye contact (when possible), listening to details, providing verbal confirmation and non judgemental input. Grandparents who practice active listening when communicating with their grandchildren establish a trustworthy and genuine rapport. These grandparents are also less likely to complain that their grandchildren ignore them or are not interested in talking to them.
Create Your Own Special Traditions
The traditions you create with your grandchildren will last a lifetime and beyond. You can pass on family traditions or start new ones that are more aligned with your grandchildren’s interests. This can include making holiday decorations together, bike riding every Sunday to stay healthy or watching classic movies together.
Be Supportive and Involved
A supportive grandparent will mean the world to any grandchild. Even if you live far away, you can be an involved grandparent. In your weekly or monthly conversations ask your grandchildren how things are going. Are they struggling with any issues? What can you do to help?
Be someone they can lean on when times get tough. If you’re not sure about how to be more supportive and involved, talk to your adult children about what they feel is the best way for you to be a present presence in your grandchildren’s lives.
No matter how you decide to spend quality time with your grandchildren, remember consistency and authenticity is vital to strengthening your relationship.
Stay Socially Engaged at Beacon Hill
Grandchildren are welcome visitors at Beacon Hill. While at Beacon Hill, your grandchildren will experience the elevated lifestyle you enjoy everyday. Treat them to delicious meals at our onsite dining venues, take them for a stroll in our beautiful gardens, throw a party in your charming apartment or book a transportation service to drive you all to the top attractions in the Lombard area.
Contact us for more information.