There is something very special about the bond between grandparents and their grandchildren. Not only do grandparents get to extend the love of their own children to their grandchildren, but they get to experience the joys of raising their children all over again – without the full-on responsibility of everyday care.
Children benefit greatly from having a strong bond with their grandparents. It is important for you, as the parent, to help foster this relationship.
The Benefits of the Grandparent-Grandchild Bond
Grandparents love nothing more than to tell stories of how things were back in their day – and children should listen. By hearing stories of struggle and hardship, children will develop a sense of gratitude for the things and people they have in their lives instead of taking them for granted.
Grandparents are a wealth of skill and can impart this knowledge onto their grandchildren. Children have an opportunity to learn skills such as cooking, gardening, crafting and other hobbies that they may not have exposure to.
3. Unconditional Love
The unconditional love between a parent and a child is important but also commonplace and expected. Receiving the same love from grandparents, especially those that live outside the home, can provide your children with a stronger sense of self-worth and confidence.
Keeping Your Children in Close Contact with Their Grandparents
Making visits happen between grandparents and grandchildren is crucial in strengthening the bond between them. However, many factors can affect how frequently grandparents and their grandchildren visit with one another.
It’s no surprise that how close your children live to their grandparents will determine how often they get to see each other. If you have to travel to see your parents, it’s likely your children will see their grandparents less.
This does not mean that the bond between them needs to be weak. With today’s technology, keeping in touch can be a personal experience.
Regular telephone calls or video chats can help to foster a direct connection between the grandparents and grandchildren. Try to plan for a weekly call to let your parents or in-laws catch up with their grandchildren. It’s the perfect time to talk about school, activities or, if you can video call, show off recent projects or new toys.
Facebook, while not a means for your children to communicate with their grandparents, is a great way to keep your parents and in-laws up-to-date with pictures and videos throughout the week.
Overall, depending on how far away the grandparents are, you should always make an effort to visit in person throughout the year or take turns visiting each year. Holidays and special occasions are a great time to bring grandparents and grandchildren together.
The Relationship Between the Parent and Grandparents
Not all families are perfect and, unfortunately, past friction can make a current relationship difficult. Even though you and your partner may not enjoy the company of your parents or in-laws, there is no reason to keep your children away from their grandparents.
Unless you feel that the grandparents pose a threat or mistreat your children, efforts should be made to create a civil relationship so that your children can have that important bond with their grandparents. You are the middle generation and, therefore, are the gatekeeper between grandparent and grandchild.
If being in proximity to your parents or in-laws is challenging, try to keep visits short or allow your children to visit their grandparents independently. You can also allow your children to contact their grandparents via phone or video chat to perpetuate their bond. Sometimes removing yourself from the equation, to a certain extent, can alleviate the potential for conflict.
The Number of Grandchildren
When your parents or in-laws have numerous grandchildren, it can be hard to find time for your little ones to visit to have one-on-one time with them. Often visits happen during family gatherings where many grandchildren are present.
Or, in some situations, you may have siblings or sibling-in-laws that take up a lot of the grandparents’ time. They may be dependent on the grandparents’ support that it takes up much of their time.
Impress upon your parents or in-laws how important it is for you that they see your children and spend quality time with them. Schedule special dates where only your children are present.
You can also take advantage of those lines of communication – such as phones calls – that do not require face-to-face interaction. These can be key steps in strengthening the bond between your children and their grandparents.
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