Connecting with your grandkids can be tough.
They’re always on their phones, there can be weird family dynamics, and although you love them to absolute pieces, it can be difficult to figure out where you all fit in each other’s lives.
Let’s talk about how grandparents can connect with their grandchildren in real, meaningful ways. It’s important to recognize the importance of intergenerational family connections, so here are 10 things that grandparents can do to help them connect with their grandchildren, whether they are 5 or 25 years old.
- Take time individually with your grandkids
Grandparents and grandkids often get into a “Christmas and birthdays” routine where the only interaction they have is at big family gatherings. Break that cycle! Decide that every month, you want to take a different grandchild out for lunch, perhaps, or have a card game tournament with just the grandparents and grandkids.
2. Get involved in what your grandkids are already doing
Is your grandchild obsessed with figure skating? Start having them over to watch figure skating whenever it’s on. They’ll love I and it can be a great time to bond. Plus, it gives you all something to talk about!
Look for hobbies, interests, or activities that your grandkids are involved in that you can find a common interest in. Then make it easy to spend time doing those things together.
3. Help your grandkids get involved in your hobbies and passions
Give your grandkids quilting lessons. You never know what might spark their interest. In fact, you might work on a gorgeous quilt to use as a wedding present one day. Think about how meaningful it would be for you both.
Give your grandkids an opportunity to get to know you. Let them get a taste of what your life is like, what you enjoy doing. They love you, so let them enjoy life with you!
4. Don’t be afraid to be yourself
There are a lot of grandparents who seem to think that their grandkids will only want to spend time with them if they’re cool and hip. Now, as someone who has very cool and hip grandparents (and is pretty sure they will be reading this), I can tell you that age is not a problem.
5. Watch how you talk about their parents
One of the biggest pressure points between grandkids and their grandparents is when the grandparents aren’t able to speak appropriately about the parents.
Kids love their parents immensely. If your daughter married a man you dislike and has three children with him, it is inappropriate to make snide comments about him in front of his kids. It just is. If you have personal issues with a kid’s parents, they are completely off the table. Focus on learning to love the people who are difficult to love, even if just for the sake of your grandkids. Besides, who knows–maybe by staying very involved with your grandkids, you’ll be the good influence in their life.
6. Have grace for generational differences
There are cultural expectations and traditions that are simply different between grandparents’ and their grandchildren’s generations. When grandkids act in a way that would be rude to your generation, ask yourself, “are they being unthoughtful or ungrateful, or is this a cultural difference? Is it worth dying on this hill, or can I address this calmly?”
7. Look for opportunities to help your grandkids with practical things
There’s a reason “#adulting” is such a big trend right now. A lot of young adults have no idea how to run a home, have no idea how to balance a budget, and have no idea how to effectively cook on a budget.
You’ve been on the earth a lot longer than your grandkids; give them some of your wisdom! They need it!
8. Don’t be afraid to be the one who calls first
Grandparents often live miles away from their grandkids and staying in touch can be hard. To add to that difficulty, there seems to be an expectation that the grandkids will do all the reaching out. But if you want to connect with your grandkids, maybe it’s time that you take the first step. Pick up the phone and call! The reality is that most people my age aren’t in the habit of calling their family members–we FaceTime or we text. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to connect! Now is the time to call, ask, “Hey! Is this a good time to chat and catch up?” and take it from there!
9. As much as possible, be an easy person to visit
If you’re living a lifestyle that puts the burden of your property upkeep almost entirely on your family’s shoulders, visiting and spending time with family will become a more stressful and tense experience. Maybe it’s time to downsize so that your time can be spent together, not just doing chores!
10. Understand that you both need each other!
There is a special bond between grandparents and their grandkids. The specific dynamics are different in every family but having someone who loves you so very much who is much older or much younger than you are gives you fresh perspective on life. For the grandkids, it’s so comforting to know “My grandpa has been through this before, and he came through a better man.” Recognize that you have such a special place in your grandkids’ lives, and by opening your life stories and experience to them you will make their lives all the richer.
By David Lasman – “Ask Medicare Dave” | President – Senior Healthcare Team
wwww.SeniorHealthcareTeam.com | 866-333-7340
Selecting the right healthcare plan through Medicare can be overwhelming and downright stressful. Senior Healthcare Team is a nationwide resource that provides guidance and support about Medicare to seniors at no cost to them and helps them to choose the most suitable insurance plan tailored to their specific needs and budget. Our goal is to educate and empower our clients to make the best decisions regarding their healthcare and clear up the confusion of Medicare. At Senior Healthcare Team, we aren’t partial to any one insurance company. Our loyalty is to our clients and our mission is to provide them with the best healthcare options at the very lowest cost.