Grandparents don’t always live nearby so this article provides concrete ideas for how grandparents and grandchildren can build relationships from a distance.
The Importance of Grandparents
Grandparents have a lot to offer the whole family.
For parents, they provide support and a link to family history and tradition. For grandchildren, they provide another adult role model, intergenerational learning opportunities, and fun! Since many grandparents are removed from the everyday stressors of parenting and discipline they are able to approach their grandchildren in a genuinely playful manner. This opportunity to play and have fun together supports your child’s learning and healthy development.
If you are lucky enough to have grandparents nearby it can be great to set up regular play dates so that these important grandparent times can be part of your child’s regular routine. These frequent interactions will help them develop a strong bond and make it easier for you to develop clear roles and expectations from each other. For activity ideas for grandparents you can share this resource with your child’s grandparents.
Many times grandparents live far away, but if this is the case you can still engage them in the lives of your children. We are lucky to live in an age where there is video-calling, voice-recording programs, email, and easy shipping around the world. Encourage long-distance grandparents to find the ways that work best for them to stay connected with your children. They can check out this Long-Distance Grandparent Survival Guide for creative suggestions for staying connected.
If your child doesn’t have living grandparents or your child’s grandparents cannot be part of their life at this time there are other ways your child can benefit from intergenerational relationships. Perhaps an elderly neighbor, a great-aunt, or a friend of the family can get to know your child and share with them their perspective. These relationships can be just as powerful for your child and provide them with an older mentor who can broaden their perspective and support their development.