If you've ever turned to your parents or your partner's parents for help and support with child-rearing, you know how
wonderful grandparents can be. Although physical distance and parenting differences can come between grandparents, their children, and
their grandchildren, encouraging a close relationship can benefit everyone involved.
The Benefits of Bonding With Grandparents
Establishing a bond with grandparents can benefit kids in many ways. Grandparents can be great role models and influences,
and they can provide a sense of cultural heritage and family history. Grandparents provide their grandkids with love, have
their best interests at heart, and can make them feel safe.
Grandparents also encourage a child's healthy development. Overnight trips to Grandma's house, for example, may be
less traumatic than sleepovers with peers, and can help kids develop independence. Another benefit — grandparents may
have lots of time to spend playing and reading to kids. Such dedicated attention only improves a child's developmental and
Tips for Staying in Touch
In today's world, though, families may be scattered across the country, and jam-packed school and work schedules may interfere
with regular time with grandparents. Despite physical distance or busy schedules, you can encourage your child to develop
a closer bond with his or her grandparents by trying these tips:
- Visit often. If your child's grandparents live nearby, make an effort to carve time out of your busy
schedule for regular visits. Encourage grandparents to drop by your home, too. Plan regular trips to see out-of-town grandmas
and grandpas. Even if visits are infrequent, anticipating and planning the next trip can help your child regard that time
- Stay in touch with technology. Use the telephone and email to talk, write, and send pictures and sound
files of your growing child to grandparents. If they don't own a computer, send videos of your child in action, like taking
a bath or playing with a pet. Or have a grandparent record a reading of a favorite story and play it for your child before
- Say cheese. Post snapshots of grandparents in a prominent spot in your home, and point them out to your
child often. Or place family pictures in a special photo album and page through it frequently while naming the family members.
- Sound mail call. Does your child love receiving mail? Send grandparents a box of stationery and postcards
and some stamps and ask them to send your child regular letters. Another way to encourage communication is to have your child
write letters every week on the same day — both kids and grandparents will anticipate the regular communication.
- Pass it on. Many grandparents have hobbies or special skills — such as knitting, woodworking, or
cooking — that they'd love to pass on to their grandchildren. Provide kids with the time and tools needed to learn these
skills from their grandparents.
- Chart a family tree. Both younger and older kids enjoy learning about their ancestors and relatives.
Encourage grandparents to share stories of their families. You can even provide paper and drawing supplies so they can chart
the family tree!