I was so fortunate to grow up with grandparents I saw often. It helped that we were less than an hour away from either set, but my parents also made it a priority to visit. They also were instrumental in helping us have special experiences with them – sleepovers, farm visits, baking, family trips, and more. I have so many wonderful childhood memories involving my grandparents!
Not every child has living grandparents. Some grandparents are estranged from the rest of the family because of reasons beyond anyone’s control. But if your child has any living grandparents, whether near or far, you can help them have the kind of great relationship I had with mine.
Our kids are so fortunate to have grandparents who live not too far from us and who are active in their lives. It takes effort on the part of both us as parents and them as the grandparents, but it’s totally worth it. Here are a few ideas we’ve done to help you jumpstart a great relationship between your kids and their grandparents:
It’s hard for kids to feel close to their grandparents when they only speak every few months. Even from an early age, we’ve made it a priority for our kids to talk to their grandparents often. Phone is obviously the most convenient, but we’ve had the most fun with FaceTime or Skype calls! Group calls are fun but can get crazy, so give your kids a chance to talk to Grandpa or Grandma individually as well so they can actually be heard!
My parents and my children both enjoy playing tennis, so we make sure they have time to play whenever we get together. It might just be hitting in the front yard or going to the courts, but we’ve seen them bond over this shared interest. My husband’s parents always have puzzles going and the boys join in while we are there. Playing together could look like just about anything – catch, baking, art – just find things both parties will enjoy!
Birthdays are a big deal and most grandparents celebrate these well, but what about the other days? There are so many things to be celebrated and you can encourage this by sharing your kids’ small victories and upcoming events so grandparents can celebrate those, too! We send text messages to grandparents after basketball games or when a child reaches a milestone they’ve been working towards.
Grandparents are so good about mentioning these things or sending cards to celebrate. And make sure your children know about things to celebrate for Grandpa and Grandma – anniversary, promotion, retirement, etc. Help them send cards or make a special phone call to mark these occasions. Celebrating each other will add to the bond and positivity of this wonderful relationship.
A great gift for grandparent OR grandchild from the Tommy Nelson library is Grandma Kisses, which is out tomorrow!
Pray for this special relationship in your child’s life. Pray with your kids for their grandparents. Ask their grandparents to pray for the kids when appropriate. If your kids don’t have a relationship with their grandparents yet, prayer is the best place to start. Any relationship founded on prayer has a strong advantage.
Find the blessing in having the love and influence of grandparents in your child’s life and help your child see the value in fostering a relationship with Grandpa and Grandma, not just on holidays, but throughout the year!