Six Ways to Build Lasting Relationships with Grandchildren
My childhood was filled with family gatherings, steeped in deep-rooted traditions that have been passed down through generations. The laughter and warmth of those extended family get-togethers are some of my fondest memories, with my grandparents playing a central role. Even to this day, my grandma, aunts, uncles and cousins come together for festive holiday gatherings, and my kids have formed special bonds with their cousins, who are among their closest friends.
However, the passing of my beloved mom, who was an incredible grandmother to my children, was a devastating loss for me, my siblings and our children. But amid the tragedy, my siblings and I found solace in each other's company as we joined forces to fill the void left by my mom's absence and carry on our family's cherished traditions. It was a time of bonding, reminiscing about precious memories with our mom and honoring her legacy by passing on her values and customs to our children.
During this journey, my mom's mom has been a pillar of strength, holding our extended family together and carrying on those traditions. Now, as her health declines, I’m determined to honor her and carry on her legacy by maintaining strong relationships with family members, especially across generations.
Grandparents and grandchildren have a unique and vital relationship that benefits younger and older generations.
The Benefits of Intergenerational Relationships:
Spending time with older family members can help children and adolescents develop a sense of identity and self-esteem. Grandparents can offer a different perspective on life, share their experiences and provide a wealth of knowledge and skills to help their grandchildren develop new interests. For older adults, intergenerational relationships can help combat loneliness and isolation and provide a sense of purpose.
The Role of Grandparents:
Grandparents provide emotional support and guidance, offering a safe and nurturing environment where grandchildren feel valued and appreciated. Grandparents can help their grandchildren develop a sense of cultural identity and provide a link to their family's past.
Tips to Improve Connection with Your Grandchildren:
- Spend time together: Find activities that you both enjoy to help strengthen your bond.
- Listen and engage: Ask your grandchildren about their interests, opinions and experiences, and show genuine interest in what they have to say.
- Share your experiences: Tell stories about your childhood or your knowledge of a particular subject. If you need help, you can find a list of get-to-know-you questions in the back of my book “Grandmas Are for Love.”
- Be supportive: Attend school events, offer encouragement or be there to listen when they need someone to talk to.
- Respect boundaries: Be mindful of their schedules and routines and ask their parents about their rules and expectations.
- Embrace technology: Use video chatting, texting or sharing photos and videos to communicate.
These are just a few ways grandparents can develop relationships with their grandchildren. Intergenerational relationships offer unique benefits for both younger and older generations. By following these tips, you can strengthen your bond with your grandchildren and provide a supportive and nurturing environment where they can thrive. Take the time to foster these relationships and create lasting memories that will benefit both you and your grandchildren for years to come.
About the Author
Misty Black is an internationally bestselling and award-winning author of children's books. Her ultimate goal is to inspire a love for reading in every child so they can embark on thrilling adventures without ever leaving the comfort of their own minds. At the heart of her With Love Collection of books is a celebration of the bonds that tie us together as family, friends and members of the human race. You can learn more about Misty and her books at MistyBlackAuthor.com.